Heel Spurs – What are they?
A heel spur is a bony growth that forms on the heel bone (calcaneus). Heel spurs can cause sharp foot pain at the bottom or along the front of the heel bone. The pain usually subsides after a while, turning into a dull ache. The pain will often come back when taking your first steps after waking or standing up after sitting for a long periods of time. The inflamed tissue around the bone spur causes the pain and discomfort.
What causes heel spurs?
Heel spurs are caused by a condition called Plantar Fasciitis, which results from the inflammation of the Plantar Fascia.a very strong dense fibrous membrane of the sole of the foot that lies beneath the skin and superficial layer of fat and binds together the deeper structures
The Plantar Fascia is a very strong, dense fibrous membrane of connective tissue that runs from your toes to the your heel bone and supports the arch of your foot. In most cases, the fascia is flexible and strong. However, due to factors such as abnormal stress, excessive weight, age, poor foot function, painful stretching and micro-tearing of the Plantar Fascia occurs leading to irritation and inflammation at the attachment of the Plantar Fascia into the heel bone. Continuous pulling of the fascia at the heel bone eventually leads to the development of a bony growth on the heel, which is commonly called a Heel Spur.
While you’re at rest or sleeping, the Plantar Fascia tightens and shortens. When you wake, weight is rapidly applied to the foot forcing the fascia to stretch and quickly lengthen. This often causes irritation and tearing of the fascia, which explains the sharp pain with your first steps in the morning.
Heel spurs are more likely to happen if:
- • You suffer from over-pronation (flattening of the arch, flat feet)
- • You stand or walk on hard surfaces for long periods as a result of employment
- • You are overweight or pregnant - you have tight calf muscles
- Treatment of Heel Spurs
Treatment of Heel Spurs
The most effective solution for treating heel spurs is to treat the cause of the problem by correcting abnormal foot mechanics with orthotic insoles.