Heel spurs

Heel spurs are a widespread foot problem in South Africa. It is estimated hundreds of thousands of people suffer from this condition. Luckily, there is an effective and economical treatment for this painful foot condition.

Symptoms

The vast majority of people who have heel spurs feel the asscociated pain during their first steps in the morning. The pain is quite intense and felt either the bottom or front of the heel bone. Typically, the sharp pain diminishes after being up for a while but continues as a dull ache. The pain characteristically returns when first standing up after sitting for long periods.

What are the causes of heel spur?

Heel spurs are bony outgrowths positioned where the plantar fascia tissue attaches to the heel bone (the calcaneus). Heel spurs seldom cause pain. It is the inflamed tissue surrounding the spur that causes the pain. The Latin meaning of Plantar Fasciitis is, “Inflammation of Plantar Fascia.” The plantar fascia is a long, thick and very tough band of tissue beneath your foot that provides arch support. It also connects your toes to your heel bone. Each time you take a step, the arch slightly flattens to absorb impact. This band of tissue is normally quite strong and flexible but unfortunately, circumstances such as undue stress, being overweight, getting older or having irregularities in your foot dynamics can lead to unnatural stretching and micro-tearing of the plantar fascia. This causes pain and swelling at the location where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone. As the fascia continually pulls at the heel bone, the constant irritation eventually creates a bony growth on the heel. This is called a heel spur.

When the Plantar Fascia is allowed to rest during sleep or long periods of inactivity, the fascia tightens and shortens. When you first stand up after resting, the fascia is forced to stretch very quickly causing micro-tears in the tissue. This is why the first steps in the morning are so exquisitely painful.

Heel spurs are more likely to happen if:

- you suffer from over-pronation (walking with a rolling gait)
- you stand or walk on rigid surfaces for long periods
- you are above ideal weight or during pregnancy
- you have stiff muscles in your calves

Treatment options for heel spurs

Heel spurs can be solved with simple solutions that do not involve surgery:

·       Avoiding extended periods of activity such as running, sports and walking

·       Applying ice directly to the heel for 5 minutes at a time. This helps soothe and reduce inflammation

·       Lose weight to reduce stress on your heels

·       A series of simple exercises

·       Inexpensive orthotic shoe inserts

The best way to treat heel spurs is by treating the underlying cause of the problem. This involves correcting the dynamics of your foot motion with orthotic insoles.

Australian podiatrists have developed Footlogics orthotics to realign the dynamics of your foot in motion. This design prevents over-pronation and lifts up the arches. The arch support removes excess tension on the plantar fascia and remedies the cause of heel spurs.

Footlogics inserts also feature a soft PodFlex® heel pad to absorb the impact of each step. This adds to relief and comfort while walking.

Summary:

Definition: Heel Spur (Calcaneal spur)

Symptoms: intense pain in the heel with first steps in the morning or after resting, subsiding to dull ache later on

Cause: inflammation of the Plantar Fascia as a result of over-pronation and poor foot biomechanics

Treatment: orthotic insoles improve walking gait; daily exercises; rest

heel spur
heel bone and plantar fascia
Recommended orthotics for heel spurs