Definition: Heel Spur (Calcaneal spur)
Symptoms: sharp pain in the heel with first steps in the morning or after resting, subsiding to dull ache
Causes: inflammation of the Plantar Fascia as a result of over-pronation
Treatment:orthotic insoles to correct pronation; special exercises; icing; rest/reduced activity
Heel spurs are a very common foot problem in Australia, with hundreds of thousands of people suffering each year. Fortunately, for most people there's an effective and affordable treatment solution to this painful foot condition.
Most people experience heel spur pain with their first steps in the morning, after getting out of bed. It is presented by a sharp stabbing pain at the bottom or front of the heel bone. Usually the heel pain subsides after a while, turning into a dull ache. The pain will come back when getting up after sitting for a long period.
A heel spur is a bony growth on the heel bone (calcaneus). The heel spur itself is actually not causing any pain. It is the inflamed tissue around the spur that causes pain and discomfort.
Heel spurs (and heel pain) are caused by a condition called "Plantar Fasciitis". This is Latin for inflammation of Plantar Fascia. The Plantar Fascia is the flat band of tissue under the foot that runs from your toes to the your heel bone. It supports the arch of your foot. Normally, the fascia is flexible and strong. However, due to factors such as abnormal stress, excessive weight, age, or poor foot function etc 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 bony growth on the heel. This is called a Heel Spur.
During rest (for example when you're asleep), the Plantar Fascia tightens and shortens. When body weight is rapidly applied to the foot, the Fascia must stretch and quickly lengthen, causing irritation and tearing of the fascia. Hence, 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)
- you stand or walk on hard surfaces, for long periods
- you are overweight or pregnant
- you have tight calf muscles
Plantar Fasciitis and heel spurs can be treated with simple, non-surgical methods. The most common heel spur relief solutions are:
• Rest, avoid prolonged activity, such as walking, running and sports
• Ice, apply ice for only 5 mins, allowing the inflammation to cool down
• Weight loss
• Stretching exercises - click here to view Exercises Program
• A low-cost orthotic shoe insert
The most effective solution to heel spurs is to treat the cause of the problem by correcting abnormal foot mechanics with orthotic insoles.
Developed by Australian podiatrists, Footlogics orthotics control over-pronation and support the arches. They help release the tension on the plantar fascia, thereby treating the cause of Plantar Fasciitis and heel spurs.
Plus, a soft shock-absorbing heel pad helps reduce the impact on the painful heel, providing added relief and walking comfort.
Footlogics orthotics are available from selected pharmacies, physiotherapists, and podiatrists around Australia. The product is also available directly from Footlogics Australia (order on-line or by phone).