A heel spur is a bony outgrowth in the underneath portion of the calcaneus or heel bone. This bony outgrowth is formed from calcium deposits as a result of wear and tear on the muscles in the foot, ligaments, tendons and plantar fascia. A heel spur is easily seen in X-rays as an extension of the calcaneus bone, according to a local Tampa chiropractor.
If you have a heel spur, you may experience two things. First, you may feel a stabbing or shearing pain on your heel portion prompting you to seek consult, hence the diagnosis of heel spur. Second, you may not feel any symptom and the diagnosis of heel spur is not likely unless you undergo a routine X-ray involving the feet. These conditions are due to the fact that heel spurs can be symptomatic and asymptomatic depending on the extent of the outgrowth.
Basically, heel spurs do not lead to symptoms until later in the development of the outgrowth. Nevertheless, there are symptoms that you need to watch out to determine the presence of possible heel spurs. These include:
- Chronic or intermittent pain on the heels
The main symptom of heel spurs is the presence of stabbing or shearing pain on the underside of the heels. This results from the soft tissue injury that develops when the bony outgrowth pierces or provides tension on the underlying soft tissues such as the muscles. When the bony outgrowth punctures the soft tissues, it may lead to local inflammation contributing to chronic pain. Pain is usually present when the body weight is placed on the feet during walking, running or jogging. It should be noted that pain does not really originate from the bony outgrowth, but on the local inflammation as a result of tissue injury from the pointed heel spur. Moreover, the pain is more severe when one starts to walk rather than during the act of walking itself because the nerves and blood vessels around the area need to adjust again in the presence of the heel spur.
The first thing that a person feels is the presence of a sharp pain first thing in the morning and then turns into a dull ache during the day.
- Reduced mobility of the affected foot
Since stepping on the foot with heel spur can cause pain, most individuals avoid using their affected foot as much as possible. In this line, there may be affectation of the ambulation and overall mobility of the person.
These symptoms of heel spurs are basically the concern for affected individuals and treatments are geared towards the management of the heel spur itself to relieve symptoms. While surgery to the heel spur is rarely done, various techniques to increase the integrity of the soft tissues around the heel spur are commonly done to help the tissue adjust in the presence of the bony outgrowth. Common managements include stretching exercises, use of supportive shoes or shoe inserts, physical therapy, and taping of the foot to relieve tension in the tendons and muscles in the heel portion.