Heel spur is an extremely painful condition characterized by abnormal growth of the heel bone. Heel spurs are also known as calcaneal spurs. They are needle-like calcium growths, which grow from the calcaneal bone or the heel bone. These bony outgrowths might be present under the heel, behind the heel or under the foot sole.
Causes of heel spurs
Usually tendonitis or swelling of the Achilles tendon, a tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, causes heel spurs behind the heel. Heel spurs beneath the sole of the foot develops from inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament that attaches the sole to the heel.
Heel spurs produced by abnormal inflammation of ligaments and tendons are often associated with arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis and ankylosing spondlylitis could trigger formation of heel spurs. Sometimes heel spurs are signs of poor blood circulation in the tissues in the heel and the foot. These abnormal bony outgrowths usually occur after 40.
Heel spur treatment
Heel spur might bother you for several years. Occasionally, the intense pain could immobilize you. However, the spur or the calcium growth in the heel is not responsible for the pain. The pain is caused by inflammation of the tendons and ligaments around the heel.
The pain usually reduces as you start walking and moving your heels. After you start walking on the heel spurs, the blood vessels and nerves present around the heel gradually adjust themselves to the condition. The pain worsens when you start walking after keeping your legs in a stationary position for a longtime. Excessive foot strain increases the heel pain.
Ice packs could be applied at the site of the pain to reduce the inflammation and discomfort. By increasing blood circulation around the heel, a warm compress could reduce the pain.
Anti-inflammatory medications could reduce the swelling and the pain associated with it. Intense pain, which tends to immobilize the heel spur patient, is treated with cortisone injections.
The pain could be kept under control by wearing shoes with soft and cushioned soles. Often shoe insert made of soft rubber pad is placed in the shoe heel. It helps to elevate the heel and shifts the body weight towards the front of the foot.