Every year hundreds of thousands of people develop heel spurs. Fortunately, prevention and treatment are quite effective and available in the majority of cases.
Most people feel pain from the very first steps in the morning after they get up. It manifests itself in sharp stabbing pain in the region of the plantar surface of the heel bone. Usually a sharp pain in the heel calms down becoming a dull one. However sensations will increase upon walking or long rest.
- Hyperpronation of the foot (lowering of the inner longitudinal arch of the foot)
- Long standing or walking on hard surfaces
- Overweight or weight gained during pregnancy
- High tonicity of gastrocnemius muscles
A spur is a bone excrescence on the heel bone. In fact it doesn’t cause pain. Due to constant load, tissues around the spur get irritated and that leads to inflammation which causes pain and discomfort. Pain in the heel is caused by Plantar Fasciitis which in Latin means inflammation of the plantar fascia.
Plantar fascia is a thin flat strip of a soft tissue along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the toes to the heel. It supports the longitudinal arch of the foot. As a rule the fascia is flexible and strong. However, such factors as overload, overweight, age or limited foot functions, etc. cause painful sprains and micro sprains which then lead to irritation and inflammation in the region where plantar fascia is bound to the heel bone.
Constant overstretch of the fascia eventually leads to formation of a bone excrescence in the region of binding with the heel bone.
This excrescence is called a spur. During a rest (sleeping, for example) the fascia is relaxed and thus it gets smaller. When you get up, the fascia stretches under your weight and gets longer causing irritation and of the fascia. As a result sharp pain appears from the very first steps in the morning.
How to treat a heel spur? You can relieve pain caused by plantar fasciitis using simple non-surgical methods.
Rest: avoid constant loads such as walking, running and doing sports.
- Icing: it can relieve pain just in 5 minutes.
- Losing weight
- Stretching exercises – click here to watch a complex of exercises.
The most effective solution is the individual treatment of orthotics, which help eliminate the appearance of spurs, by correcting a broken foot biomechanics.
They are made with all the individual characteristics of your feet and allow you to control pronation and support the arches of the foot. They help to release the tension on the plantar fascia, thus eliminating the cause of plantar fasciitis, facilitating treatment. In addition, the soft cushioning Heel to reduce the impact of painful heel for added support and comfort when walking.
Treatments for heel spurs:
- Physiotherapy, such as laser therapy, ultrahigh frequency treatment, magnetotherapy and electrophoresis.
- Laser treatment influences the soft tissues around the spur, optimizes blood circulation in the region of inflammation and relieves pain. Laser therapy cannot eliminate the spur itself.
- Ultrahigh frequency treatment implies the use of high frequency alternative current with low voltage and intensity. Under the influence of these currents capillaries in soft tissues widen which optimizes blood circulation and relieves inflammation and pain.
- Magnetotherapy is similar to ultrahigh frequency treatment as it makes capillaries widen and optimizes blood circulation. There are two types of magnetic fields: alternative and direct but the former is used more often.
- Electrophoresis is a method of medical injection into the inflamed spot and tissue injury. It implies the following principle: 2 metallic plates are placed on the pathologic area. One of the plates is wrapped in a fabric saturated with medicine. Then galvanic current is fed to the plates. The first plate sends positively charged particles to the second plate while the second plate sends negatively charged particles to the first plate. These particles bring the medical substance to the fabric. As for treating heel spurs novocaine, iodic potassium, hydrocortisone and other medicines are used.
- X-ray therapy. X-ray therapy is used when there is constant pain and no positive effects. A low-dosed X-ray influences the spur region and, blocking nerve endings, it eliminates pain. The procedure takes about 10 minutes.
- Ultrasonic destruction. This method is based on the therapeutic effect of the mechanic radial wave which allows eliminating pain in the region of the heel spur in a short period of time. Such shock waves go through soft tissues destructing calcifications and bones. However not everybody can do it. People who suffer from malignancies, blood-clotting disorder and also pregnant women are not recommended undergoing ultrasonic destruction.
If conservative treatment turns ineffective, it is necessary to conduct medical blockades – injections of anti-inflammatory medications which stop inflammation and relieve pain.
In serious cases surgical treatment is inevitable but indications are quite few. It implies removal of the spur with a chisel and further incision of the modified tissue. Such treatment is to be used only if all other methods don’t help. Usually the disease is treated conservatively.