What is a Heel Spur?
A heel spur is a buildup of calcium that deposits on the bottom of the heel bone. It may occur on its own or may be related to another health condition. Below are the causes, symptoms and remedies of heel spurs.
Possible Causes of Heel Spurs
- Heel bruising
- Running and jumping on hard surfaces
- Improper footwear
- Athletic activity
- Being overweight
- Female factor
- Improper gait
- Plantar fasciitis
Heel spurs occur because of a calcium deposit on the underside of the heel bone. They take months to form.
When shoes wear out, they do not properly bear your body weight, which may cause heel spurs to develop. Other causes include reactive arthritis and back pain also known as ankylosing spondylitis.
Symptoms of a Heel Spur
- Shooting pain in the heel when you stand up in the morning
- Swollen Heel
- Dull pain in the heel that lasts through the day
- Small bone protrusion visible in the heel
Often, heel spurs don’t show any symptoms. There may not be noticeable changes in the bones and tissues around your heel. Over time, however, a bony spur will appear.
In many cases, a heel spur is painless. However, if it is linked to plantar fasciitis, it will probably hurt. You might have pain in the front part of the heel and that area might feel warm to the touch. The arch of the foot might also be affected by this condition.
If you have any of the above, your feet should be properly diagnosed by a qualified professional.
Diagnosis of Heel Spurs
Definitive diagnosis of heel spurs can be done only with x-rays. Though the symptoms might be obvious, detecting the heel spur on your own is difficult. Only a qualified professional such as an orthopedic surgeon can tell for sure if you have a heel spur.
Non-Surgical Heel Spur Treatment Options
- Apply ice: Ice the bottoms of your feet. This helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Wear cushioned shoes or inserts: The less hard pounding your feet endure, the better.
- Physical therapy: Specific stretching exercises and movements might temporarilly reduce heel spur pain. They should be prescribed only by a qualified, professional physical therapist.
- Rest: Not using your feet or limiting the time on your feet might be the best non-surgical remedy to heel spurs.
- Anti-inflammatory medication: Ibuprophen is a common over-the-counter pill taken to reduce swelling. Cortisone or steroids might be prescribed by a qualified professional.
- Pain medication: Aspirin, acetaminophen and other over-the-counter pain medications can help to temporarilly reduce the pain caused by heel spurs. Check with a qualified professional before taking any medication.
Surgical Treatment for Heel Spurs
Considering today’s minimally invasive foot surgery techniques, removing a heel spur is a viable option that offers minimal pain and recovery time. Minimally invasive heel spur surgery removes the calcium deposit. If necessary, the surgeon may also release the plantar fascia muscle. Consult with a minimally invasive surgery center like Northwest Surgery Center for a free diagnosis of your foot condition.