A heel spur is a radiological (X-ray) finding, often seen in those suffering from plantar fasciitis.
It consists of a thin spike of calcification, which lies within the plantar fascia at the point of its attachment to the calcaneus, or heel bone. While this condition is commonly present in plantar fasciitis, it is a result of the inflammation, and is not the cause of the pain caused thereby. The X-ray findings are not diagnostic, and are commonly reported in people not suffering from fasciitis.
Treatment of heel spurs is the same as treatment of plantar fasciitis. Because these problems are related, the treatment is the same. The first step in the treatment of a heel spur is short-term rest and inflammation control. Here are the steps patients should take in order to cure the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and heel spurs:
The first treatment step is avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms. For example, take a few day off jogging or prolonged standing to try to rest the painful foot. Just resting usually helps eliminate the most severe pain, and will allow the inflammation to begin to settle down
Apply Ice Packs
Icing will help diminish some of the symptoms and control the heel pain. Icing is especially helpful after an acute exacerbation of symptoms.
Icing idea for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs
Exercises and Stretches
Exercises and stretches are designed to relax the tissues that surround the heel bone. Some simple exercises, performed in the morning and evening, often help patients feel better quickly.
Anti-inflammatory medications help control pain and decrease inflammation. Over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient, but prescription options are also available.
Shoe inserts are often the key to successful treatment of plantar fasciitis. The shoe inserts often permit patients to continue their routine activities without pain.
Night splints are worn to keep the heel stretched out when you sleep. They prevent the arch of the foot from becoming contracted at night, and is hopefully not as painful in the morning.
These treatments alone will cure the plantar fasciitis pain in most patients. Be forewarned that the symptoms will not resolve quickly. Most patients find relief within about three months, and over 90 percent within one year.
If the pain does not resolve, an injection of cortisone can decrease the inflammation of plantar fasciitis. However, many physicians do not like to inject cortisone around the heel because potentially serious problems can happen cortisone injections in the heel area. The two problems that cause concern are fat pad atrophy and plantar fascial rupture. Both problems occur in a small percentage of patients, but they can worsen heel pain symptoms.
A new treatment for heel spurs chronic plantar fasciitis is being investigated. This treatment, called extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or ESWT, uses energy pulses to induce microtrauma to the tissue around the heel spur. This microtrauma is thought to induce a tissue repair process by the body. ESWT is recommended in patients who have failed the previously mentioned treatments, and are considering surgical options.
I have heel spurs in both feet, mine also started suddenly and was sent for xrays whuch confirmed. I started with heel soles for my shoes, even bought skeetchers which did help my left foot, my right remained painful. Had 2 injections into right, but each only lasted about 2 weeks, which still remains very painful and difficult to walk. Havent been to therapy yet, but looking for alternative treatment.