Heel spurs usually form under the base of the foot or the back of the heel bone. Spurs that develop underneath the foot may visibly protrude through the skin. In addition, plantar fasciitis as well
as heel spurs may eventually lead to chronic pain that persists for three or more months, especially if the sides and base of the heel bone have been affected. A large heel spur can affect movement
and prevent an individual from walking or even standing properly. If a heel spur begins to protrude excessively, then surgery usually becomes necessary.
It is widely accepted now that the presence of this bony growth is not the cause of heel pain, but rather an effect of an underlying biomechanical foot problem where the soft tissue structures that
are attached to the heel bone are pulling excessively on that area. At some point down the track, heel pain may develop, but the bony heel spur is not the cause of the heel pain.
Most heel spurs cause no symptoms and may go undetected for years. If they cause no pain or discomfort, they require no treatment. Occasionally, a bone spur will break off from the larger bone,
becoming a ?loose body?, floating in a joint or embedding itself in the lining of the joint. This can cause pain and intermittent locking of the joint. In the case of heel spurs, sharp pain and
discomfort is felt on the bottom of the foot or heel.
The diagnosis of heel pain and heel spurs is made by a through history of the course of the condition and by physical exam. Weight bearing x-rays are useful in determining if a heel spur is present
and to rule out rare causes of heel pain such as a stress fracture of the heel bone, the presence of bone tumors or evidence of soft tissue damage caused by certain connective tissue disorders.
Non Surgical Treatment
Get some rest. You need to stay off of your aching foot as much as possible for at least a week. Think about possible causes of the problem while you're resting and figure out how you can make some
changes. Some actions that can contribute to heel spurs include running too often or running on hard surfaces such as concrete, tight calf muscles, shoes with poor shock absorption. Ease back into
your activities. In many cases, you'll be in too much pain to go ahead with a strenuous exercise routine that puts pressure or impact on your heel. Listen to your body and switch to different
activities such as swimming or riding a bike until your heel spurs improve.
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
Heel Spur symptoms can be prevented from returning by wearing proper shoes and using customized orthotics and insoles to relieve pressure. It is important to perform your exercises to help keep your
foot stretched and relaxed.