Calcaneal Spurs (otherwise known as heel spurs) are calcium deposits that form at the heel when the patient’s heel has been exposed to prolonged and sustained stress over the course of their life. Ordinarily, this calcifying process is perfectly natural, and causes no undue harm to the patient. However, with instances of repeated damage to this area, the calcium deposits may manifest into a sharp spur-like formation that can be very painful and damaging. Symptoms of Calcaneal Spurs are a sharp and distinct pain in the area around the spur, which intensifies during periods of prolonged inactivity. Most often, this pain is most severe in the morning, and patients often report that they can no longer support weight on the afflicted foot.
Spurs commonly afflict those suffering from Flat Feet, obese members of the population and women who frequently wear high-heeled shoes. This condition can be aggravated by running, walking or attempting to lift heavy objects on a routine basis. Ordinarily, your podiatrist can confirm the presence of a heel spur by running a routine radiological (x-ray) examination, whereupon the spur will be plainly visible. Spurs can develop on either the top or bottom of the heel, depending on the nature of the stress placed upon them. Spurs located on the bottom of the heel (known as inferior spurs), are typically comorbid with Plantar Fasciitis and develop as a direct result of the degenerative nature of the condition.
Treatments for calcaneal spurs vary, depending on the severity of the condition, and how deeply it impacts the patient’s quality of life. Non-surgical options are mostly restricted to specialized exercises prescribed by your doctor, as well as the possible additions of Orthotics, a change in footwear and physical therapy. In the overwhelming majority of cases, such simple therapies eliminate the spur and cause the patient to undergo a full recovery after only a few months. After an adequate trial of conservative therapy, which has produced a less than satisfactory outcome, shock wave therapy becomes a consideration.