Heel Spurs – A Type of Bony Extension
A Heel Spur can be described as a type of bony extension that impacts the calcaneus bone within the heel. Heel Spurs are generally attributed to different kinds of enduring local inflammations at the point of insertion of the soft-tissue ligaments or the fascia. The heel spurs are mostly located around the back of heel or right under the heel, just beneath sole of foot. The heel spurs that develop around the back of heel are usually associated with the inflammations of the Achilles tendon (i.e. tendinitis). They cause pain and tenderness in the area, which can exacerbated when a person tries to push off from the ball of the foot.
Heel Spurs are usually caused by different kinds of strain injuries that affect the tendons and the tissues attached to heel bone (i.e. the calcaneus). Such a condition can develop after a strain injury or repetitive athletic stress. The heel spurs can also be caused by inflammatory diseases like ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, as well as diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis. While the heel spurs themselves do not cause any kind of symptoms, they may lead to tenderness of the affected tissues just next to the spur. In some cases, the symptoms of the heel spur are more or less the same as the ones associated with the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. The diagnosis is mostly carried out with the help of ultrasound imaging and X-rays, which reveal a bony outgrowth in the affected area.
Treatment methods depend greatly on the severity of the condition. Doctors treat symptomatic heel spurs by reducing associated avascularity or inflammation. They also focus on avoiding any chances of reinjury. Usually the treatment is meant for curing underlying conditions like arthritis, Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis that led to the formation of the heel spur. Applying ice in the affected area can minimize inflammation and pains. Physical therapy techniques like stretching exercises can help in preventing and treating plantar fasciitis. Doctors may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and injections of cortisone can greatly help to reduce the sensations of pain. Shoe inserts and orthotic devices can be used for controlling excess motion that can strain the specific plantar fascia ligament or the Achilles tendon. Sometimes orthotics can help take the pressure off the plantar spurs with the help of a donut-shaped insert. Using heel lifts can help to reduce stress on the Achilles tendon and relieve the painful spurs that impact the back of a heel. Likewise, sports running shoes that are fitted with the soft, cushioned soles are ideal for reducing the irritation caused by the inflamed tissues resulting from heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. In some cases, surgery is chosen as the form of treatment for chronically inflamed spurs. Some of the recent forms of treatments include injections of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), radiofrequency ablation, prolotherapy injection, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) or ultrasonic micro debridement.