What is a heel spur? What are the Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment Methods?

What are the symptoms and treatment methods of heel spurs
What are the symptoms and treatment methods of heel spurs

The heel spur is a bone-like calcium deposit that forms between the heel bone and the sole pit. It often starts at the front of the heel and then affects other parts of the foot. It is usually about 0,5 cm tall. That's why it's not always visible to the naked eye. Diagnosis of heel spurs, which is called osteophyte in medical literature, can sometimes be difficult. It is the result of prolonged tension, often seen in muscle and connective tissue. Repetitive stress from walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces is a common cause of heel spurs. Signs of inflammation such as pain, swelling, and temperature increase are seen in the anterior part of the heel. However, it does not always cause pain, and not all heel pain is caused by heel spurs. It is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, orthoses, and measures to prevent re-injury. What is a heel spur? What causes heel spurs? What are the symptoms of heel spurs? How to recognize a heel spur? How is heel spur treatment performed? Heel spur medication Heel spur surgery Heel spur exercises How does the heel spur go? The answer to your questions is in the details of the news ...

What is a heel spur?

Heel spurs are pointed bone growths that develop in the heel bone. They are structures formed by calcium deposits under the heel bone called the calcaneus. On the X-ray, the heel spur can be seen as protruding 1 - 1,5 cm. When there is no visible evidence on the x-ray, the condition can sometimes be called "heel spur syndrome".

Heel spurs can develop due to an underlying health problem or can be seen independently. It can be found in front of the heel just under the arch of the foot or behind the heel. Heel spurs that develop behind the heel are often associated with inflammation of the Achilles tendon. In this inflammatory condition known as Achilles tendinitis, applying pressure to the front of the foot causes an increase in sensitivity and heel pain. Heel spurs seen in the anterior part of the heel are often associated with plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the fibrous connective tissue called plantar fascia that passes under the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes.

What Causes Heel Spurs?

Heel spurs occur when calcium builds up in the lower part of the heel bone for several months.

The local inflammatory process that results from chronic stretching and repeated tearing of the soft tissue tendons, muscles, or plantar fascia is a common cause of calcium buildup. Plantar fascia is the connective tissue strip that connects the heel bone to the toes. Heel spurs are particularly common among athletes who take long runs and jumps.

Risk factors for heel spurs include:

  • Gait abnormalities that place excessive stress on the heel bones, ligaments and nerves near the heel
  • Brisk walking or jogging, especially on hard surfaces
  • Incompatible or poorly worn shoes, especially those without proper arch support
  • Overweight and obesity

Other risk factors associated with plantar fasciitis include:

  • Advancing age reduces the flexibility of the plantar fascia and increases the risk by thinning the fat pad that protects the heel.
  • It is more common in women.
  • Soft tissue damage to the foot, such as impact on the heel or foot sprain, can lead to heel spurs.
  • Diabetes
  • Spend most of the day standing
  • Doing frequent, short-term, excessive physical activities
  • Have flat feet or a high arch

There are also some medical conditions that can cause heel spurs. These situations include:

  • Reactive arthritis (Reiter's disease)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinitis

What are the symptoms of heel spurs?

Heel spurs often do not cause any symptoms. The most common complaints are intermittent or chronic pain. If inflammation occurs, especially at the point of heel spur formation, pain may be observed, especially when walking or running. In general, the cause of the pain is not the heel spur but the soft tissue injury associated with it.

Many people describe the pain seen in heel spurs and plantar fasciitis as a stabbing or needle sticking in the soles of their feet when they first get up in the morning. The pain then turns into an uncomfortable pain. The sharp pain returns when you stand up, usually after sitting for a long time. Other symptoms seen with heel spurs can include:

  • Inflammation and swelling in the front of the heel
  • Increased temperature in and around the affected area
  • Small, naked-eye bone-like bump under the heel
  • Tenderness under the heel that makes walking barefoot difficult

How to Tell Heel Spur?

Individuals with symptoms and complaints thought to have a heel spur may have a foot x-ray for diagnosis. Seeing the bone spurs on the x-ray is the only way to be sure of the presence of a heel spur. Because some people have no symptoms, heel spurs are only discovered by X-rays for another reason.

How is Heel Spur Treatment Performed?

The aim of the heel spur treatment is to reduce the pressure on the foot, to control pain and inflammation, to promote tissue healing and to increase the flexibility of soft tissues. Treatments for heel spurs may include:

  • Rest. Abundant rest can help reduce the inflammation and associated pain and swelling in the affected area by reducing the pressure applied to the foot.
  • Ice application. Ice application can help reduce pain and swelling by suppressing inflammation.
  • Use of orthoses. Ring-shaped insoles used for this purpose are used by placing them inside the shoes to remove the pressure on the heel.
  • Night splint and plaster
  • Stretching exercises
  • Physiotheraphy
  • Wearing shock-absorbing sports shoes. It can help relieve the pressure applied to the soft tissues of the foot and reduce pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs. It helps to reduce swelling by suppressing the inflammatory process.
  • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). High-energy sound waves are directed to the area of ​​interest to promote healing of damage to the plantar fascia.
  • Prolotherapy. The healing process is stimulated by injecting an irritating agent such as dextrose into the damaged soft tissue.
  • PRP. A natural substance obtained from the person's own blood is injected into the heel area. This application speeds up tissue healing.
  • Acupuncture. Sterile needles or laser beams inserted in certain parts of the body stimulate the body's healing and repair mechanisms.
  • Steroid injections. It reduces swelling and pain in the affected area. They are stronger drugs that are used when anti-inflammatory drugs are not sufficient.
  • Operation. In rare cases, surgery may be required to remove the heel spur. In most cases, other treatments are sufficient and surgery is not required.

If the heel spurs are caused by an inflammatory type of arthritis, the complaints may subside with treatment of the underlying condition.

Heel Spur Remedy

There is no specific medicine developed for heel spurs. The drugs used in the treatment help to control the complaints by suppressing the inflammatory process and accelerating tissue healing. Medicines used for this purpose include:

  1. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs: Drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be taken by mouth under the supervision of a doctor.
  2. Creams, ointments and gels: Anti-inflammatory and analgesic creams, gels or ointments may be helpful.
  3. Steroid injections: If other treatments do not work, steroid injections are tried to the patient area before surgery is considered.

Heel Spur Surgery

More than 90% of patients recover with non-surgical treatments. If other treatments fail to treat the symptoms after 9 to 12 months, surgery may be required to relieve pain and improve mobility. Surgical techniques include:

  • Releasing the plantar fascia
  • Removing the heel spur

Preoperative examinations and tests are performed to determine suitable candidates for surgery. After the surgery, the doctor's instructions such as rest, ice application, foot elevation should be followed. In some cases, patients may need to use postoperative bandages, splint, throw, surgical shoes, crutches, or canes. Possible complications of heel spur surgery include nerve pain, recurrent heel pain, permanent numbness in the ala, infection, and a hard scar called a scar. In addition, there is a risk of foot cramps, stress fractures, and tendonitis after plantar fascia release.

Heel Spur Exercises

Heel spurs are the result of chronic stress exposure due to the shortness of the muscles and ligaments in the feet and calves. For this reason, exercises that will help the soft tissues in the area to stretch and stretch are effective in reducing complaints. For this reason, foot and calf stretching exercises can be done regularly to help heel spur treatment. Some exercises that can be done for this purpose are:

  • Stretching the plantar fascia and calves: Stand with the toes on a step or bench, with the sole of the foot parallel to the floor. The heel of the foot remaining in the gap is lowered until it feels tension. Wait for a few seconds in this position and the heel is raised again. This movement is repeated several times.
  • Stretching the plantar fascia and calves: Sit on the floor or on the bed with the legs extended in front. A towel is wrapped around the toes and pulled towards itself from the ends of the towel until tension is felt.
  • Stretching the plantar fascia: Sit on a chair and place the corresponding calf diagonally on the other leg. Then the toes of the foot are pulled towards yourself by hand on the same side. It is a very effective exercise.
  • Stretching the calf muscles: lean against a wall or pole. One leg is left behind and the body load is given to the other leg. Then lean forward until you feel a stretch in the hind leg.

How Does a Heel Spur Pass?

There are various natural treatment options available for heel spurs. Some of these can be listed as follows:

  • Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt is a naturally occurring healing salt that contains magnesium sulfate. For heel spurs, sprinkle some Epsom salt in the water and dip the feet into it. With the feet in the water, the heels can be gently massaged.
  • Massage with essential oils. Pure essential oils such as rosemary or lavender can reduce pain due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is known to remove excess calcium from bone and provide relief. Feet are soaked in warm water containing a few drops of apple cider vinegar or a towel soaked in vinegar is wrapped around the heel for a few minutes.
  • Carbonate. A paste is prepared by mixing half a teaspoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of water and applied by massaging the heel.

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