The heel spur (or calcaneal spur) is a nail-like growth of calcium around the ligaments and tendons of the foot where they attach to the heel bone. The spur grows from the bone and into the flesh of
the foot. A heel spur results from an anatomical change of the calcaneus (heel bone). This involves the area of the heel and occasionally, another disability, such as arthritis. The heel bone forms
one end of the two longitudinal arches of the foot. These arches are held together by ligaments and are activated by the muscles of the foot (some of which are attached beneath the arches and run
from the front to the back of the foot). These muscles and ligaments, like the other supporting tissues of the body, are attached in two places. Many are attached at the heel bone. The body reacts to
the stress at the heel bone by calcifying the soft tissue attachments and creating a spur.
The main cause of heel spur is calcium deposit under the heel bone. Building of calcium deposits can take place over several months. Heel spurs happens because of stress on the foot ligaments and
muscles and continuous tearing of the membrane covering the heel bone. It also happens due to continuous stretching the plantar fascia. Heel spurs are mostly seen in case of athletes who has to do
lots of jumping and running. The risk factors that may lead to heel spurs include aormalities in walking which place too much stress on the heel bone, nerves in the heel and ligaments. Poorly fitted
shoes without the right arch support. Jogging and running on hard surfaces. Excess weight. Older age. Diabetes. Standing for a longer duration.
The pain caused by a calcaneal spur is not the result of the pressure of weight on the point of the spur, but results from inflammation around the tendons where they attach to the heel bone. You
might expect the pain to increase as you walk on the spur, but actually it decreases. The pain is most severe when you start to walk after a rest. The nerves and capillaries adapt themselves to the
situation as you walk. When you rest, the nerves and capillaries rest, also. Then, as you begin to move about again, extreme demands are made on the blood vessels and nerves, which will cause pain
until they again adjust to the spur. If excessive strain has been placed on the foot the day before, the pain may also be greater. A sudden strain, as might be produced by leaping or jumping, can
also increase the pain. The pain might be localized at first, but continued walking and standing will soon cause the entire heel to become tender and painful.
Your doctor will review your medical history and examine your foot. X-rays are used to identify the location and size of the heel spur.
Non Surgical Treatment
Rest won?t help you in case of pain from the heel spur. When you get up after sleeping for some time, the pain may get worse. The pain worsens after a period of rest. You will feel pain because the
plantar fascia elongates during working which stresses the heel. It is important to see a doctor if you are having consistent pain in you heel. The doctors may advise few or all of the conservative
treatments, stretching exercises, shoe recommendations, shoe inserts or orthotic devices, physical therapy, taping or strapping to rest stressed muscles and tendons. There are some over-the-counter
medicines available for treatment of heel pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve) are some such medicines which can help you to get relief from the pain. In case of
biomechanical imbalances causing the pain, a functional orthotic device can help you to get relief. Your doctor may also advise a corticosteroid injection for eliminating the inflammation.
In some cases, heel spurs are removed by surgery after an X-ray. While the surgery is typically effective, it?s a timely and expensive procedure. Even after surgery, heel spurs can re-form if the
patient continues the lifestyle that led to the problem. These reasons are why most people who develop painful heel spurs begin looking for natural remedies for joint and bone pain. Surgery isn?t
required to cure a heel spur. In fact, more than 90 percent of people get better with nonsurgical treatments. If nonsurgical methods fail to treat symptoms of heel spurs after 12 months, surgery may
be necessary to alleviate pain and restore mobility.