Heel spurs are small lumps of excess bone that grow and stick out on the calcaneus, aka heel bone. They usually develop in response to friction, tightness, inflammation or injury when the body lays
down extra layers of bone to try and protect itself. There are two areas where heel bone spurs tend to develop. At the back of the heel: these are usually due to conditions such as Achilles
tendonitis, tight calf muscles or wearing tight footwear. These are known as posterior calcaneal spurs. Underneath the heel: these are usually due to conditions such as plantar fasciitis, muscle
imbalance or altered foot biomechanics. These are known as inferior calcaneal spurs.
Heel spurs develop as an abnormal growth in the heel bone due to calcium deposits that form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel. This stretching of the plantar fascia is usually the
result of over-pronation (flat feet), but people with unusually high arches (pes cavus) can also develop heel spurs. Women have a significantly higher incidence of heel spurs due to the types of
footwear often worn on a regular basis.
Most heel spurs cause no symptoms and may go undetected for years. If they cause no pain or discomfort, they require no treatment. Occasionally, a bone spur will break off from the larger bone,
becoming a ?loose body?, floating in a joint or embedding itself in the lining of the joint. This can cause pain and intermittent locking of the joint. In the case of heel spurs, sharp pain and
discomfort is felt on the bottom of the foot or heel.
A thorough history and physical exam is always necessary for the proper diagnosis of heel spurs and other foot conditions. X rays of the heel area are helpful, as excess bone production will be
Non Surgical Treatment
Perform some exercises. Exercises that strengthen and lengthen your plantar fascia can also be very helpful for heel spurs. Try some of the following activities. Calf stretch. Place your hands on a
wall. Extend 1 foot (0.3 m) behind you with your knee straight and place the other foot in front of you with the knee bent. Push your hips toward the wall and hold the stretch for 10 seconds. You
should feel a pull in your calf muscles. Repeat the stretch 20 times for each foot. Plantar fascia stretch, Perform this exercise in the morning before you've done any standing or walking. Cross your
injured foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp your toes and gently pull them toward you. If you can't reach your toes, then wrap a towel around them and pull on the towel. Hold the stretch for
10 seconds and repeat 20 times for each foot.
When chronic heel pain fails to respond to conservative treatment, surgical treatment may be necessary. Heel surgery can provide pain relief and restore mobility. The type of procedure used is based
on examination and usually consists of releasing the excessive tightness of the plantar fascia, called a plantar fascia release. The procedure may also include removal of heel spurs.