What Are the Basics of Heel Spur?

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What is heel spur?

A heel spur is a pointed bony outgrowth of the bone of the heel (the calcaneus bone), which is attributed to chronic local inflammation at the insertion of soft-tissue tendons or fascia in the area. It can be located at the back of the heel or under the heel, beneath the sole of the foot. Heel spurs can cause heel pain although they are often painless. They are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia-the tissue that forms the arch of the foot.

What causes heel spurs?

Heel spurs occur when calcium deposits build up on the underside of the heel bone. Heel spurs are often caused by:
  • strains on foot muscles and ligaments
  • stretching of the plantar fascia
  • repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone.
Heel spurs may also result from:
  • Arthritis
  • Bruising of the heel
  • Walking gait abnormalities
  • Running or jogging, especially on hard surfaces
  • Poorly fitted or worn-out shoes
  • Wearing flip-flops too often
  • Excess weight and obesity <!--nextpage-->

What are symptoms of heel spurs?

Some heel spurs may cause no symptoms, so it’s difficult to diagnose a heel spur. Following are some common symptoms:
  • A sharp throbbing pain early in the morning when you stand up;
  • An intense pain after long hours of intense activities like walking or standing up;
  • A pain concentrates on the center point of the heel but subsides and spreads across the entire heel section after a period of time;
  • Inflammation around the ligament;
  • The heel feels warm to the touch.
Consult a specialist, such as orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist, for a proper diagnosis.

What are treatment options for heel spurs?

Treatment options for heel spurs can include one or more of the following:
  • Cold compresses
  • Injections of anti-inflammatory medications
  • Over-the-counter pain medications
  • Physical therapy exercises and stretching exercises
  • Rest
  • Orthotic shoe inserts
  • Night splints
  • Taping or strapping to rest stressed muscles and tendons
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