A heel spur also referred to as a calcaneal spur, is a bony protrusion that appears on the heel bone’s (calcaneus) underside. It frequently occurs in conjunction with plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia can become overworked and stressed, which can cause the tissue to pull away from the heel bone and lead to the development of heel spurs. When this happens, the body could deposit calcium there to maintain and strengthen the attachment. This can eventually result in the production of a bony protrusion that can hurt and be uncomfortable, particularly when standing or walking.
Some common causes of heel spurs include:
- Plantar fasciitis: This most frequently causes heel spurs: Overuse, repetitive stress, or poor foot mechanics can bring on an inflammation of the plantar fascia known as plantar fasciitis, which is frequently associated with heel spurs.
- Flat feet or high arches: Heel spurs can form as a result of the plantar fascia being overworked due to flat feet or high arches.
- Poor footwear: Heel spurs can also develop as a result of wearing shoes with a poor fit, inadequate support, or worn-out soles.
- Overweight or obesity: Additionally, lifting too much weight strains the feet more and raises the possibility of developing heel spurs.
- Aging: As we get older, our plantar fascia loses elasticity, making heel spurs more likely to form in the form of tears or inflammation.
- Certain activities: Moreover, running or jumping are two sports that put repetitive strain on the foot and can raise the risk of heel spur development.
Not everyone who has plantar fasciitis gets heel spurs, and not everyone who already has heel spurs feels pain or discomfort. In an X-ray, heel spurs might be evident, but they can also exist silently.
Some common signs and symptoms of a heel spur may include:
- Pain: Pain, typically felt on the bottom of the heel, is the most typical sign of a heel spur. The discomfort could be either subtle or intense, and it might be worse in the morning or during periods of relaxation.
- Swelling: The affected area could feel sensitive to the touch or swollen.
- Stiffness: Some people may find it difficult to move their foot or ankle, or they may feel stiff in the heel.
- Tingling or numbness: A heel spur can occasionally result in tingling or numbness in the foot or toes.
- Difficulty walking or standing: A heel spur may make it difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time due to the pain and discomfort it causes.
Doctors often treat heel spurs by controlling the underlying problem that is causing the plantar fasciitis, such as with physiotherapy or orthotic devices. In extreme situations, they may require surgery to remove the spur.
Physiotherapy can successfully treat heel spurs, especially when combined with additional approaches like rest, insoles, and the right footwear.
Here are a few physiotherapy techniques for heel spurs:
- Stretching exercises: A physiotherapist may suggest stretching exercises to assist in easing pain and stiffness in the affected foot. Stretches for the calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia may be a part of these workouts.
- Manual therapy: To aid in easing discomfort and enhancing mobility in the troubled foot, a physiotherapist may employ hands-on methods like soft tissue or joint mobilization.
- Taping or bracing: To give support and stability and lessen the strain on the plantar fascia, a physiotherapist may use taping or bracing the injured foot.
- Ice or heat therapy: To assist in reducing swelling and pain in the injured foot, a physiotherapist may suggest ice or heat therapy.
- Ultrasound therapy: High-frequency sound waves are used in ultrasound therapy to enhance healing and lessen inflammation in the affected area.
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: Additionally, shock waves can help in the breakdown of calcification presented in the spur.
- Super inductive system: Moreover, this is a mechanical mobilization that helps to mobilize the ankle and heel joints to improve local circulation and mobility.