Retrocalcaneal Exostosis - Heel Spur Treatment
Heel spurs are accumulations of calcium that result in a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel bone. These protrusions can extend as far as a half-inch when viewed on an x-ray. People can have heel spurs and not be aware of it, but they also cause heel pain. Many who are suffering from plantar fasciitis also suffer from heel spurs.
Your doctor may recommend exercise, anti-inflammatory medications and custom-made orthotics to ease the pain. Cortisone injections may also be recommended to stop the pain and inflammation. Surgery may be required to resolve the problem if conservative treatments do not provide relief.
Causes of Heel Spurs
It usually takes many months for a heel spur to develop. Strains on the foot muscles and ligaments, along with repeated tearing of the plantar fascia over the heel bone, can cause the growth of heel spurs. Athletes are particularly prone to heel spurs, especially those who participate in activities that require considerable running and jumping. Other risk factors for development of these calcium accumulations include:
- A walking gait that places extra stress on the heel bone and surrounding structures
- Running or jogging on hard surfaces
- Ill-fitting footwear, especially that which does not provide sufficient arch support
Plantar fasciitis is also involved in the development of heel spurs. Risk factors for this condition include:
- Long hours on your feet
- Frequent short bursts of physical activity
- Flat feet or high arches
- Increasing age
As we get older, the protective fat pad on the heel becomes thinner, and the plantar fascia begins to lose flexibility.
Symptoms of Heel Spurs
You can have heel spurs and not have any symptoms. When you do feel pain from them, it will most likely happen while you are walking, jogging or running. The pain may be chronic or intermittent when doing these activities. The heel spur itself is not painful, but the inflammation of the surrounding soft tissues may cause pain.
You may feel pain in the bottom of your foot when you first stand up after sleeping or after sitting for a prolonged period of time. The pain is often described as sharp to begin with, then turning into a dull aching.
If your pain persists more than a month, schedule an appointment with Dr. Stuart Mogul. Early intervention may prevent the need for surgery. Dr. Mogul will advise you on the most effective course of treatment to relieve your pain.