Calcaneal Spur / Heel Spur

Calcaneal Spur or heel spur is an osteophyte located on the heel bone.it is mostly be seen in X-Ray, but sometimes it is tender and palpable on the center or sides of the heel.this type of spur can be seen due to repetitive stress to the heels and it is common in those with flat foot,or women who wear high heels for long time or in those whom their foot had constant exposure to stress. Sometimes it is seen at the back of the heel at the insertion of the Achilles tendon.

Causes

The cause of the heel spur is not clearly known, but it is said that it is the calcium deposits (calcaneal calcification) and can be the response of the body to chronic (long time) inflammation of the soft tissue such as plantar fascia or Achilles tendon. The inflammation of the plantar fascia of the foot is called plantar fasciitis and its causes usually are similar to those which are associated with  heel spur. In some cases spur can be associated to foot muscle strains or ligament sprains.

Symptoms

The symptom is usually pain, specially in the morning accompanied with stiffness.patient usually is not able to put his/her weight on the heel due to pain and walking and running make these pain and stiffness worse.

Treatment

The treatment options can be reducing the inflammation in the first step by anti inflammatory medication,icing,stretching and applying Ultrasound. Applying night splint  to keep the foot upward (in stretched position)for whole night  and massaging the fascia of the insole can be other options. And treatment should be completed by some strengthening exercises for the foot muscles.strong muscles in the foot and calves may help to remove the stress off the bone and cure the heel spur.

Stretching includes plantar fascia stretching and Achilles stretching. Strengthening also should include both sole muscles and calves muscles. Specially in those with flat foot ,exercises should have more focus on the medial arch strengthening.

There is a traditional way to remove this knob, which is tapping the bony prominence with a masher or knocker to crash the calcification. It will be a painful procedure but help to remove the bony eminence.

Plantar fasciitis and calcaneal heels are said to be hereditary, therefore those girls whose their mothers have this problem should avoid wearing too much high heels.obese people are also more prone to have this spur.

In some rare cases, calcaneal spur needs surgery to remove the bone.

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Parisa Tanoori

Parisa Tanoori

Physiotherapist at Physio Savvy
Parisa is certified with a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy from Shiraz University of Medical Science, Iran. She is currently completing her PhD in Sports Medicine with the special interest of Kinesiology taping in Universiti Malaya.
Parisa Tanoori

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Posted in Foot Conditions.