Heel Spur Treatments

By Moses Jacob, DC
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Heel Spur Treatment

So what’s a heel spur and what can you do about it?

The large bone which comprises the back of the foot is called the calcaneous. The underside of the foot is comprised of soft tissue or plantar fascia. During the walking phase ( 70 % load) or running ( 60 % load) phase multiple force are distributed about the calcaneus and respective ligaments and tendons.

Heel spur or osteophyte, is a Calcium or mineral deposit which develops over time on the bottom of the calcaneus. These are known as plantar heel spur and are often associated with planar fasciitis. The most universally accepted or common cause for the development of spurs is to stress overload from either prolonged activity or overweight individuals.

Heel spurs are visible on an X-ray. Spurs may exist for months and remain painless. Heel spur may also occur at the back of the bone at the insertion of the Achill’s Tendon AKA dorsal heel spur. These are associated with Achilles tendonitis.

Causes of Heel Spurs include:

  • Prolonged activities such as standing, walking, running or jogging most often on hard ground surfaces.
  • Poor walking bio-mechanics.
  • Anatomic abnormalities such as high arches or flat feet.
  • Aging process which can thin the heel’s fat pad protection.
  • Obesity and Diabetes.

Heel Spur Symtoms

Pain onset after prolonged work or sports related activity. Pain is due to inflammation at the bottom or back of the foot.

Heel Spur Treatment Options

For acute pain, i.e. sharp pain after over doing it, apply ice. As the pain improves consider contrast baths ice and heat

Treatment Options for Chronic Heel Spur (greater than 90 days pain)

  • Proper stretching exercises before activity. Modify exercise to non-weight bearing e.g. swimming.
  • For mechanical joint fixations manipulation or mobilization methods provide benefit.
  • Modify or replace worn shoes.
  • Shoe support insoles AKA orthotics- Consider soft shock absorbing vs. Hard plastic types.
  • Use of supports or braces, or tapping of the muscles and tendons.
  • Physiotherapy methods: Heat or laser light therapy; Extra-corporeal shock wave therapy
  • Over the counter pain medications.
  • If conservative treatment fails or for severe chronic cases pain injection or Surgery as a “final” option.