Common Symptoms of Heel Spurs
Heel spurs are calcified tissue near the heel where the tendons in the foot attach. Common symptoms of a heel spur are intense pain in the heel when stretching the foot and aching in the foot that does not go away. These boney growths can protrude into the swollen tissue in the foot and cause pain. Initially, the pain can be very sharp and will be present upon standing. As time passes, the sharp pain will become a dull aching feeling, but this can become a continuous source of aggravation for the patient. Heel spurs cause pain by digging into the surrounding tissue that has become very inflamed and irritated, a condition called plantar fasciitis.
A Common Cause of Heel Spurs
A common trigger of bone spurs in the heels is when the Plantar Fascia, the thick connective tissue that attaches the toes to the heel becomes inflamed. This abnormal stress on the heel causes calcification of the soft tissue in the foot, producing plantar fascia inflammation. Things that cause this include abnormal stress, excessive weight, age or poor foot function. When the tissue becomes more rigid, it is torn over and over by the daily use of the foot. As the tissue becomes inflamed, it results in bone spurs in the heels.
Diagnosis and Treatments for Heel Spurs
The only way to receive a proper diagnosis is through a foot x-ray. With an x-ray, your doctor can validate that a heel spur has developed. Treatments include everything from simple foot elevation to relieve the pain to more extreme foot surgery to remove the spur, if your doctor feels it is necessary. By applying mild heat to the area you can lessen the inflammation. This alleviates the pain by dilating the blood vessels in the foot and increasing blood circulation. Others notice that simply wearing orthotics can provide help. These are designed to correct over-pronation and add support to the arches of the foot. By removing the strain on the Plantar Fascia, the tissues in the foot can heal correctly. Many orthotic insoles come with additional heel pads that act as shock absorbers for the heel which help to immediately relieve the pain. Also, physical therapy treatments such as diathermy can lessen inflammation. This process makes use of an electrical current to produce heat that will ease plantar fasciitis.
Preventing Heel Spurs With Plantar Fasciitis
A way to avoid heel spurs is to properly stretch the tissues in the foot and calf before any rigorous exercise. By stretching these tissues, you create more flexibility which lowers the likelihood of plantar fasciitis. Also, it is essential to wear shoes that fit properly and provide ample arch support and cushioning to the foot. Heel spurs can be avoided by adding orthotics to your shoes to help avoid stress on the Plantar Fascia. Keeping aware of our feet is a very important step in staying healthy. Healthy feet are a critical component to our long-term health.