In the setting of plantar fasciitis, heel spurs are most often seen in middle-aged men and women, but can be found in all age groups. The heel spur itself is not thought to be the primary cause of
pain, rather inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia is thought to be the primary problem. 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 bone.
Heel spurs can form as a result of repeated strain placed on foot muscles and ligaments as well as from abnormally stretching the band of tissue connecting the heel and ball of the foot. Repeated
injury to the membrane that lines the heel bone can also cause problems as can repeated tight pressure on the back of the heel. The causes can range from excessive walking (especially if unaccustomed
to walking), running or jumping to improperly fitted or worn-out shoes. Runners, volleyball players, and tennis players, people who do step aerobics or stair climbing for exercise, those with flat
feet, pregnant women, the obese and diabetics and those who wear tight-fitting shoes with a high heel are all prone to developing spurs (and plantar fasciitis) more readily.
Heel spurs result in a jabbing or aching sensation on or under the heel bone. The pain is often worst when you first arise in the morning and get to your feet. You may also experience pain when
standing up after prolonged periods of sitting, such as work sessions at a desk or car rides. The discomfort may lessen after you spend several minutes walking, only to return later. Heel spurs can
cause intermittent or chronic pain.
Your doctor will discuss your medical history and will examine your foot and heel for any deformities and inflammation (swelling, redness, heat, pain). He/she will analyze your flexibility,
stability, and gait (the way you walk). Occasionally an x-ray or blood tests (to rule out diseases or infections) may be requested.
Non Surgical Treatment
Conventional treatment for heel spurs typically includes rest, stretching exercises, icing and anti-inflammatory medications. Many people find it difficult to go through the day without some sort of
routine activity or exercise, and this prolongs the heel spur and forces people to rely on anti-inflammatory medications for a longer period of time. This can be detrimental due to the many side
effects of these medications, including gastrointestinal problems like leaky gut, bleeding and ulcer symptoms.
Surgery is used a very small percentage of the time. It is usually considered after trying non-surgical treatments for at least a year. Plantar fascia release surgery is use to relax the plantar
fascia. This surgery is commonly paired with tarsal tunnel release surgery. Surgery is successful for the majority of people.