Heel spur treatment to reduce discomfort
October 23 2015
Heel spurs may cause severe pain in the heel or foot. They can interfere with daily life by causing excruciating pain with every step. Some people may confuse them with a related condition known as plantar fasciitis - inflammation of the band of tissue that stretches from the ball of the foot to the heel, forming the arch.
A calcaneal spur (or heel spur) is a radiological (X-ray) finding, and when it is located on the inferior aspect of the calcaneus, is often associated with plantar fasciitis and ankylosing spondylitis. A posterior calcaneal spur may also develop on the back of the heel at the insertion of the Achilles tendon. An inferior calcaneal spur consists of a calcification of bone, which lies on top of the plantar fascia at the insertion of the plantar fascia.
Chronic plantar heel pain is a common and potentially debilitating condition, often caused by plantar fasciitis. Plantar calcaneal spurs were originally considered the cause of plantar fasciitis but are now regarded as an incidental finding.
Rest, especially from the activity that is contributing to making symptoms worse. If you know what the activity that's making it worse, ice is recommended immediately following it.
Stretching of the calf muscles after a short warm up is also a good idea and can be helpful.
Over-the-counter or prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medications, such as naproxen or ibuprofen can help temporarily, but can cause harm with prolonged use.
Deep tissue massage, taping and other physical therapy modalities can also be helpful.
Arch support is recommended, either with shoe inserts or custom orthotics made by podiatrists.
If pain continues, a steroid injection at the site of pain may be recommended although it has its risks.
Sometimes bone spurs can be surgically removed or an operation to loosen the fascia - called a plantar fascia release - can be performed.
Ortop Traumatol Rehabil. 2013. Evaluation of the effectiveness of vibroacoustic therapy treatment of patients with so-called "heel spur". A preliminary report. The so-called "heel spur" is a radiological term referring to adaptive bone growth as a result of chronic overload enthesopathy of the proximal attachment of the plantar fascia. The main cause of the pain is continued localised pressure on the surrounding soft tissues. Vibroacoustic wave therapy is a relatively new method gaining popularity among doctors, physiotherapists and patients. The aim of this study was to confirm the clinical efficacy of vibroacoustic therapy compared to laser and ultrasound therapy. These results represent a tentative confirmation of analgesic effectiveness of the vibro-acoustic method in musculoskeletal overload conditions.