Heel spurs are a condition that usually makes its presence known first thing in the morning via heel pain. Discomfort is typically felt in the front and bottom of the heel (calcaneal). Pain can be
constant for several months or intermittent for lengthy periods of time.
One common cause of heel spurs and related injuries is due to abnormal mechanics and movement of the foot, also referred to as pronation. Abnormal gait, which is the way our feet hit the ground as we
walk, also stresses the tissue of the foot, leading to conditions such as plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Pronation can cause the foot to become unstable during movement, affecting the gait and
leading to damage. A sudden increase in weight can also influence the development of a painful heel spur.
Heel spurs may or may not cause symptoms. Symptoms are usually related to the plantar fasciitis. You may experience significant pain. Your heel pain may be worse in the morning when you first wake up
or during certain activities.
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
Heel spurs can be treated by wearing orthotic insoles inside the shoe. Orthotics are designed to correct incorrect gait, in particular over-pronation (rolling in of the foot and collapsing of the
arches). Over-pronation is a very common foot condition, affecting at least half of the population. It is a major contributing cause of heel spurs. Orthotics are very effective in that the device
corrects the foot to its natural position. By supporting the arches properly and preventing excess rolling in of the foot, the plantar fascia is placed under much less strain and stress compared to
an unsupported foot. Less strain on the ligament means less pulling away from the heel bone, allowing the inflammation to heal faster. In addition to orthotic treatment, most podiatrists and
physiotherapists recommend a series of exercises to help make the ligaments in the feet and legs longer and more flexible. In turn this will help reduce strain on the plantar fascia.
Approximately 2% of people with painful heel spurs need surgery, meaning that 98 out of 100 people do well with the non-surgical treatments previously described. However, these treatments can
sometimes be rather long and drawn out, and may become considerably expensive. Surgery should be considered when conservative treatment is unable to control and prevent the pain. If the pain goes
away for a while, and continues to come back off and on, despite conservative treatments, surgery should be considered. If the pain really never goes away, but reaches a plateau, beyond which it does
not improve despite conservative treatments, surgery should be considered. If the pain requires three or more injections of "cortisone" into the heel within a twelve month period, surgery should be