Brief Outline of Heel Spur
A spur is a hook, or spike of bone, commonly seen on the heel bone (calcaneus). Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis, although they may be seen without it. Spurs can occur in other bones as well. When a tendon or ligament runs over the spur it causes inflammation and pain. Athletes with previous injuries or irritations of the tendon to bone attachments have a higher risk of bone spurs.
Anatomy and Physiology of Heel Spur
When a section of bone becomes injured or irritated it will add calcium to the area to strengthen it. These calcium deposits become the bone spurs. In the foot, heel spurs can form on the lower surface of the calcaneus, and sites where tendons or ligaments attach to bone are more commonly the sites of these spurs. Bone spurs irritate the tendons that cross over them, creating more inflammation within the tendon, which may increase the spur.
Cause of Injury to the Heel
Irritation of the plantar fascia and calcaneal attachment. Untreated minor injury to bones. Calcium deposits on the outside of a healthy bone.
Signs and Symptoms of Having Heel Spur
Pain and tenderness at the heel, or other site of the spur. Possible grinding or clicking felt as the tendon crosses the spur.
Rehabilitation and Prevention of Heel Spur
Identifying and correcting the condition that caused the irritation to the plantar fascia or other tendon will help with recovery, and prevent a recurrence. Stretching the muscles and tendons involved will also speed recovery. The use of a heel cup to reduce the stress on the plantar fascia may also help when returning to sports. Making sure to treat even minor injuries will also help prevent bone spurs.
Long-Term Prognosis for Heel Spur
Heel spurs should respond well to conservative treatments such as anti-inflammatory injection and shockwave therapy. If the bone spur does not respond to the conservative treatments, it would have to be surgically removed to prevent future damage.