Heel spur is a calcium deposit causing a bony outgrowth on the underside of the heel bone. The shape of a Heel Spur may be pointy, hooked, or shelf-like. They are also known as calcaneal spurs or osteophytes. A Heel Spur can extend forward by as much as a half-inch towards the arch and ultimately an X-ray is the best way to have it confirmed. If an X-ray is unable to confirm a suspected heel spur, the condition may be put down as “heel spur syndrome". Although heel spurs are often painless, they can cause severe heel pain and there is no cure.
Symptoms of a heel spur
- When standing in the morning it feels like a sharp pain like a knife in the heel.
- Throughout the rest of the day a dull ache in the heel.
- The area may get inflamed and swelling at the front of the heel with heat radiating from the area.
- Visually you may see small, bone-like protrusion under the heel.
- Heel spurs often occurs in people who already have plantar fasciitis.
What causes heel spurs?
- Heel spurs happen when long-term muscle and ligament strain wears out the soft tissues in the heel.
- Tearing the membrane that covers the heel bone is also a cause.
- Research has found that heel spurs are related to obesity and improper footwear can lead to heel spurs.
- Some factors such as running and jumping can wear down the heel and arch of the foot and frequent walking, running and jumping on hard surfaces can wear the heel down.
- Age is another factor, where the fat pad under the heel bone has worn down failing to provide shock absorption.