Heel spurs are much like any other bone spur. They are hard bumps of extra bone that usually form in the joints as a result of injury, overuse, or a degenerative disease such as osteoarthritis. In many cases, bone spurs go undetected because they are largely asymptomatic. Problems only really occur when the bone spur causes excess rubbing between two bones, infringes on a nerve, or damages the connective tissue supporting the joint. Let’s look at the types of heel spurs.
Types of Heel Spurs
A problematic heel spur is first detectable when the patient begins to feel pain. In some cases, the pain is intermittent. And it’s usually most noticeable first thing in the morning or during a strenuous activity like running. However, the pain can become chronic if the inflammation is serious enough due to a lack of treatment.
If you or someone close to you is experiencing stabbing pain in their heel(s) when they first wake up and a dull pain during normal activities, then they should consider visiting a Heel Pain Treatment Center to figure out if they have a heel spur. From there your specialist can identify which type of heel spur you have in order to create a targeted treatment plan.
Dorsal Heel Spurs
A dorsal heel spur is one that forms along the backside of the heel. This type of heel spur is most commonly associated with insertional Achilles tendonitis. Insertional Achilles tendonitis describes the breakdown of tendon fibers where the Achilles tendon connects to the heel. These torn and damaged tendon fibers have a tendency to calcify. And they can encourage the development of dorsal heel spurs if one doesn’t already exist.
Insertional Achilles tendonitis typically results from repeated stress. Long-distance runners or sprinters are considered high risk for this condition. However, you may also develop insertional Achilles tendonitis if your calf muscles stay too taut or if you rapidly accelerate a running-dependent exercise program. The good news: the condition proves highly treatable and usually does not require surgery.
Before considering a surgical option, your specialist will prescribe rest, ice, stretching, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. It can take up to three months of dedicated work to see results, so you will need to be patient. Are you still experiencing pain regularly? If so, your specialist may also introduce cortisone injections and orthotics designed to give your feet the support they need. Surgery will always be the last option unless your X-rays or MRI show that the condition is too severe for other treatments. In those cases, minimally invasive heel spur surgery is available.
Plantar Heel Spurs
A plantar heel spur is found on the bottom of the heel, and it is typically associated with plantar fasciitis. In most cases, plantar heel spurs cause no discomfort, and the effects of plantar fasciitis can typically be combatted with orthotics alone. Of course, most is not all. There are some individuals who will experience pain as a result of a plantar heel spur, and they require professional medical attention to prevent the pain from getting worse.
First your doctor can evaluate your condition. Then you can go over stretches specifically designed to relieve the discomfort of plantar fasciitis. In more severe cases, your doctor may consider injections to help bring down the swelling. At the same time, you work through a period of rest, ice, and dedicated stretches. If all of these measures fail, then your specialist at the Heel Pain Treatment Center will discuss treatment options including keyhole surgery. These can help correct your condition with minimal downtime.