Heel Spurs Explained
What is a heel spur?
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. About 70
percent of patients with plantar fasciitis have a heel spur that can be seen on
an X-ray. A spur may develop when the ligament that connects the heel bone to
the bones in the toes (plantar fascia) becomes inflamed. This strong and tight
tissue helps maintain the arch of the foot. It is also one of the major
transmitters of weight across the foot as you walk or run.
What are the symptoms of a heel spur?
Because of proximity to the tendons, the spur is a source of
continuous painful aching. The sensation has been described as "a toothache in
the foot," usually characterized by a sharp poking and is localized to the heel
or under the heel. Aching pain can become very severe and inflammation and
bruising can also occur. When taking a step or when putting pressure on the
heel, pain can escalate, particularly after prolonged periods of rest like the
first step after getting out of bed in the morning. When you place your weight
on the heel, the pain can be sufficient to immobilize you.
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
How can a heel spur be diagnosed?
A heel spur can be diagnosed by looking at an X-ray. A heel
spur diagnosis is made when an X-ray shows a hook of bone protruding from the
bottom of the foot at the point where the plantar fascia is attached to the heel
Who gets heel spurs?
Heel spurs are common in patients who have a history of foot
pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Although heel spurs are most often seen in
middle-aged men and women, they can be found in all age groups. Spurs can begin
to form as a result of obesity or sudden weight gain, such as during pregnancy,
which can place continuous and excessive weight on the heel of the foot. Another
common cause of heel spurs is wearing ill-fitting shoes that don’t properly
support the heel and other important areas of the foot. Pronation, the abnormal
motion and misalignment of the foot, can also contribute to this condition. With
excessive pronation, the plantar fascia, which is a bow-like ligament along the
bottom of the foot, could be stretched and forced to pull away from the heel
bone, contributing to the development of a spur. Other causes of heel spurs may be attributed to gout,
and rheumatoid arthritis.
How can heel spurs be treated?
The first step in the treatment of a heel spur is short-term
rest and inflammation control. Here are the steps patients should take in order
to cure the symptoms of heel spurs:
- Rest. The first treatment
step is avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms. For example, take a few day
off jogging or prolonged standing to try to rest the painful foot. Just resting
usually helps eliminate the most severe pain, and will allow the inflammation to
begin to settle down.
- Apply Ice Packs. Icing will
help diminish some of the symptoms and control the heel pain. Icing is
especially helpful after an acute exacerbation of symptoms.
- Exercises and stretches are
designed to relax the tissues that surround the heel bone. Some simple
exercises, performed in the morning and evening, often help patients feel
Medications. Anti-inflammatory medications help control pain and decrease
inflammation. Over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient, but
prescription options are also available.
- Shoe inserts Heel
Seats are often the
key to successful treatment of plantar fasciitis. The shoe inserts often permit
patients to continue their routine activities without pain.
Splints are worn to
keep the heel stretched out when you sleep. They prevent the arch of the foot
from becoming contracted at night and thus not as painful in the
- Diathermy treatment uses an
electrical current to produce heat that sedates the inflamed tissues. The
ultrasound device sends sound waves into the heel and sets up a massaging action
that stimulates blood circulation. Treatment with a whirlpool bath involves
placing the foot directly into the jetting stream.
In regards to shoes, heel "cushions" and arch supports for plantar fasciitis
and/or heel spur treatment:
- Surgery, which is a more
radical treatment, can be a permanent correction to remove the spur itself. If
your doctor believes that surgery is indicated, he will recommend an operation -
but only after establishing that less drastic methods of treatment are not
Expensive shoes are not the answer for treating plantar fasciitis
and/or heel spurs. It's all about the insert in your shoe. Many
customers we talk to have spent hundreds of dollars on expensive shoes
looking for relief when they could have bought a $50 pair of shoes and
purchased a quality after market insert which would make it as good, if
not better, then a $300 pair of "orthopedic" shoes. The Heel Seats can
be used in ANY closed back shoe and results are usually felt within (2)
weeks of everyday use.
"Cushions": Many sufferers of plantar fasciitis and heel spurs
think or have been told to use soft "cushions" under their heel. This
approach does nothing to attack the actual source of pain and rarely
works. The same thing is true for painful Cortizone shots. Cortizone
only numbs the inflamed area and makes your body not feel the pain, but
again does nothing to actually attack the source of the problem or
provide a long term solution.
(3) Arch Supports/Custom Orthotics: Everyone should wear a
quality arch support in their shoes starting as early in life as
possible. Having proper support under your arch and keeping the proper
bio-mechanical balance will prevent plantar fasciitis and heel spurs
from occurring later in life. With the many different types of footwear
available such as non supportive flip-flops it is not realistic that
everyone will take the preventative approach and this is why 15 million
people suffer from plantar fasciitis in the United States alone.
Podiatrists seem to always prescribe custom orthotics for patients with
plantar fasciitis and it's no wonder they rarely work to cure the
problem as they are just an expensive arch support. Again... the reason
they rarely help is because they do not attack the source of the problem
which is the plantar fascia contracting, not a lack of arch support.
Podiatrists profit hundreds of dollars selling custom orthotics that
rarely work and they provide no guarantee.... buyer beware!!
The Heel Seats were designed specifically
for Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs. How they treat Plantar Fasciitis
and Heel Spurs is described below:
Plantar Fasciitis: The Heel Seats
have patented acupressure ridge that is just forward of where your heel
sits. When your body weight presses down on this acupressure ridge the
ridge physically stretches and lengthens the plantar fascia. This is
the true source of heel pain from Plantar Fasciitis, the plantar fascia
contracting and becoming inflamed. The Heel Seats are the only product
we have found(and we carry a lot of products for foot pain) that
actually provide a long term solution to this very common, but very
frustrating foot ailment.
Spurs: The Heel Seats use the same patented acupressure ridge
described above to leverage the weight off of your heel. The pain from
Heel Spurs is not because of the actual bone spur, it's because of the
inflamed tissue around the spur that has been pounded by walking on it
for too long. The Heel Seats leverage the weight off of the heel and
allow the inflamed tissue around the spur to reduce and therefore
eliminate the heel pain felt because of Heel Spurs.
this section helps you make a more informed and educated decision when
purchasing products for both Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis.
Heel Seats correct the problem... not just treat the symptoms.
with Heel Spurs can be very problematic. People spend billions of
dollars a year on hundreds of products with little to no success. Try
HTP Heel Seats. Stop the insanity and start the healing. Remember, your
results are guaranteed!
After applying HTP Heel
Seats, they go to work immediately to treat the pain associated with
heel spurs, while also working to heal the spur is itself. When used in
combination with a supportive shoe, HTP Heel Seats are guaranteed to
relieve heel pain. With a 99.7% success rate and being highly
recommended among doctors and professional athletes alike, HTP Heel
Seats can provide the necessary relief from intrusive heel spurs. The HTP Heel Seats patented acupressure design works to stop pain
quickly. Then, using proven healing technology, they begin to correct
problems that actually cause Heel Spurs. It does not matter how severe
your pain is, HTP begins to work immediately!
Click here to read more about how HTP Heel Seats work and how Dr. Art Smuckler invented them....