Heel spurs, pointed, bony outgrowths of the heel, are caused by localized soft tissue inflammation and can be located at the back of the heel or under the heel, beneath the sole of the foot. Plantar
fascitis is associated with inflammation caused by heel spurs on the soles of the feet. Both conditions are treated with ice application and anti-inflammatory medications. Orthotics may also provide
Faulty foot structures such as abnormal growths, different leg lengths, and unhealed injuries and haveinf flat feet or high arches. Muscle imbalances tight, weak or shortened muscles in your foot,
plantar fascia, ankle, calf and hamstring. Over pronation can cause imbalance in foot mechanics which puts excess pressure on the plantar fascia. Poor biomechanics affect the way your foot hits the
ground. If you overpronate (feet roll inward) you tend to have flat feet (pes planus), which increases stress on the heel bone. Regular shoes or high heels that are too tight or don't support your
heel or arch affect the distribution of your body weight on your foot. Health conditions such as obesity, inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis), bursitis, neuroma
(nerve growths), gout, diabetes, Haglund's deformity, and Achilles tendinitis can also instigate the problem. Running or jogging on hard surfaces, repetative striking of the heel bone.
Symptoms may be similar to those of plantar fasciitis and include pain and tenderness at the base of the heel, pain on weight bearing and in severe cases difficulty walking. The main diagnosis of a
heel spur is made by X-ray where a bony growth on the heel can be seen. A heel spur can occur without any symptoms at all and the athlete would never know they have the bony growth on the heel.
Likewise, Plantar fasciitis can occur without the bone growth present.
Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis is usually diagnosed by your physiotherapist or sports doctor based on your symptoms, history and clinical examination. After confirming your heel spur or plantar
fasciitis they will investigate WHY you are likely to be predisposed to heel spurs and develop a treatment plan to decrease your chance of future bouts. X-rays will show calcification or bone within
the plantar fascia or at its insertion into the calcaneus. This is known as a calcaneal or heel spur. Ultrasound scans and MRI are used to identify any plantar fasciitis tears, inflammation or
calcification. Pathology tests may identify spondyloarthritis, which can cause symptoms similar to plantar fasciitis.
Non Surgical Treatment
Some heel spurs do require surgery, however surgery is a last resort. In most cases the patients underlying foot problem needs to be addressed, such as Over Pronation and Over Supination and Heel
Pain Treatment Options need to be implemented if Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis are still an ongoing concern. Your best treatment is always prevention.
Approximately 2% of people with painful heel spurs need surgery, meaning that 98 out of 100 people do well with the non-surgical treatments previously described. However, these treatments can
sometimes be rather long and drawn out, and may become considerably expensive. Surgery should be considered when conservative treatment is unable to control and prevent the pain. If the pain goes
away for a while, and continues to come back off and on, despite conservative treatments, surgery should be considered. If the pain really never goes away, but reaches a plateau, beyond which it does
not improve despite conservative treatments, surgery should be considered. If the pain requires three or more injections of "cortisone" into the heel within a twelve month period, surgery should be