A heel spur or a calcaneal spur is a bony outgrowth or an osteophyte formed on the heel bone (calcaneus). heel spur or a calcaneal spur commonly occurs in relation with Plantar Fasciitis. These two terms are usually mixed up together, but they are not the same condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Heel Spur or Calcaneal Spur
- Pain in the region surrounding the heel spur or calcaneal spur.
- Heel pain upon weight bearing due to spur.
- Activities like walking and other physical activities become difficult to perform due to pain in the heels caused by heel spur or calcaneal spur.
- There will be some redness or inflammation around heel spur or calcaneal spur region.
- Heel spurs or calcaneal spurs tend to cause pain usually with the first step in the morning or after a long rest on bed, which gradually eases away.
- In few people, heel spur or calcaneal spur can also cause swelling.
- X-ray confirms the heel spur, as the bony growth on the heel is visible on an X-ray.
Causes of Heel Spur or Calcaneal Spur
One of the common causes of Heel Spur or Calcaneal Spur is recurrent stress to the base of the heel which results in buildup of calcium deposits on the heel. As the damage increases, these calcium deposits get accumulated and form a heel spur or a calcaneal spur.
Other Common Reasons For Formation of Heel Spur or Calcaneal Spur Are:
- Individuals who are overweight or obese tend to develop heel spurs or calcaneal spur.
- Improper walking or running technique can also be a factor in developing heel spur or calcaneal spur.
- Ill fitting footwear or wearing high heels
- Hereditary factors can also be a reason for heel spur or calcaneal spur.
- If your work demands you to be on your feet for a long time then that can also be a contributing factor for developing a spur in the heel.
- Ageing is also a cause for developing heel spur.
- Diabetics are more prone to developing heel spurs or calcaneal spurs
- Usually, it is the combination of gait abnormalities, weight, being long hours on feet, age, choice of footwear that is worn regularly etc that can lead to forming heel spurs.
Treatment for Heel Spur or Calcaneal Spur
- Rest is a vital part of treatment especially from activities which aggravate the symptoms of heel spur or calcaneal spur.
- Ice pack application helps in pain relief from heel spur or calcaneal spur. Other option is to roll your feet on an iced can or bottle.
- The foot and ankle should be exercised and stretched to maintain strength and flexibility.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen can be taken for pain relief from heel spur or calcaneal spur.
- Patients can use shoe inserts to limit the pressure on the spur and thus decrease pain.
- Choosing a well cushioned shoes or slippers goes a long way in helping you cope with heel spur or calcaneal spur.
- Orthotics to help you deal with heel spur or calcaneal spur includes heel cups and insoles.
- Surgery may be required if the above treatment fails. Surgical option for heel spur or calcaneal spur includes either instep plantar fasciotomy or endoscopic heel spur surgery.
- Lastly, it is important to stay fit and lose weight. Heel spur can be especially very bothersome among overweight people. Losing weight will take the pressure off of your heel and reduce the pain of heel spur.
Recovery Period of Heel Spur or Calcaneal Spur:
Time taken to recover from the pain of heel spur or calcaneal spur depends on the severity of the spur. It is important to take plenty of rest and avoid weight bearing on the affected feet. If your job or daily schedule involves standing on the feet most of the time then it is important to make changes to it so as to allow your feet to get more rest as this will reduce the recovery period but if you ignore to rest and continue working through the pain the chances are that your heel spur or calcaneal spur condition and its pain may worsen and will prolong the healing time. Overweight patients may take more time to recover from heel spur or calcaneal spur due to the extra pressure of the body weight on the heel. With conservative approach to get rid of heel spur pain or calcaneal spur pain, recovery period may spread anywhere from few weeks to a couple of months.
Prevention of Heel Spur or Calcaneal Spur:
- Choice of footwear goes a long way in preventing heel spurs. Right footwear would be the one which has well cushioned insoles which can act as shock absorbers, and light weight etc.
- It is important to maintain proper BMI. Overweight or obese people are more prone to developing heel spurs or calcaneal spurs so it is important to exercise and maintain the appropriate weight.
- Can Heel Spurs Be Cured?
- Is Heel Spur Syndrome Hereditary?
- Is a Heel Spur Same as Plantar Fasciitis: Differences Worth Knowing
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