A bony growth that occurs where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel. More frequent in women, attributed to wearing high-heeled shoes.
What causes it?
Heel spurs are a secondary symptom of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the plantar fascia which is the fibrous band that runs along the bottom of the foot and maintains the arch. As the plantar fascia is stressed and starts to pull away from the heel, the body tries to repair the injury by filling in the gap with bone.
Signs and Symptoms:
May begin as a dull pain in the heel and sometimes in the mid or forefoot. Pain may get sharper, more intense, and more persistent over time. Pain is usually worst after getting out of bed in the morning or following a prolonged period of rest. Visible swelling may be present in severe cases.
Prevention and Treatments:
Icing for ten minutes three times per day and/or anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation during initial acute stage; heat therapy may be effective for chronic, longstanding cases.
Low dye strapping (taping) to help relieve stress on the plantar fascia.
Off-the-shelf arch supports for simple, non-severe problems.
Prescription custom orthotics to help correct structural foot problems causing the pain and other associated foot problems such as callus buildup and corns.
Possibly prescription custom footwear from your Chiropodist, depending on the severity of the structural foot problem.
Stretching exercises for your plantar fascia.
Examples of the kinds of exercises your Chiropodist may recommend:
Place a towel on the floor. Curl the towel toward you, using only the toes of your injured foot. Resistance can be increased by placing a weight on the end of the towel. Perform this exercise 20 times.
Lift all your toes off the floor and, while keeping your heel on the floor and the outside four toes in the air, tap just the big toe to the floor. Next you will change the order and tap the outside four toes to the floor a number of times while keeping the big toe in the air. Start with 10 taps and work up to 50 taps per session.
Lean against a wall with your back knee locked. Press forward until a stretch is felt in your calf muscle, but do not stretch to the point of pain. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times for each calf.
Lean against a wall. Gradually bend your back knee bent. until a stretch is felt in your Achilles tendon, but do not stretch to the point of pain. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times for each foot.