A heel spur is a projection or growth of bone where certain muscles and soft tissue structures of the foot attach to the bottom of the heel. Most commonly, the plantar fascia, a broad, ligament-like
structure extending from the heel bone to the base of the toes becomes inflamed, and symptoms of heel pain begin. As this inflammation continues over a period of time, with or without treatment, a
heel spur is likely to form. If heel pain is treated early, conservative therapy is often successful, and surgery is usually avoided.
Generally caused by lack of flexibility in the calf muscles and/or excess weight, heel spurs occur when the foot bone is exposed to constant stress and calcium deposit build-up on the bottom of the
heel bone. Repeated damage can cause these deposits to pile up on each other, presenting a spur-shaped deformity.
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
There are both conservative and surgical heel spur treatment options. Because the heel pain caused by heel spurs is symptomatic of inflammation, the first step is to ice the area in hopes to reduce
the inflammation. The next step is to see our orthopedic specialist to prescribe an appropriate treatment plan. Some conservative treatment options might include Anti-inflammatory medications. Shoe
orthotics. Shoe inserts. If conservative treatments are not working, surgery may be required to remove the heel spur. As in all cases of heel pain, it is important to see an orthopedic doctor who
specializes in foot and ankle pain.
Though conservative treatments for heel spurs work most of the time, there are some cases where we need to take your treatment to the next level. Luckily, with today?s technologies, you can still
often avoid surgery. Some of the advanced technologies to treat a Heel Spur are Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy. Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (also known as PRP) is one of several regenerative medicine
techniques that University Foot and Ankle Institute has helped bring to foot and ankle care. This amazing in-office procedure allows the growth factors in the blood to be used to actually begin the
healing process again long after your body has given up on healing the area. Heel Pain Shockwave Therapy. Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive procedure done in the office that allows for new blood to
get to the region of fascia damage and help with healing. Results have been excellent with more than 70 percent of patients getting relief with only one treatment. Topaz for Heal Spurs and pain.
Another minimally invasive technology technique is called Coblation Surgery using a Topaz probe. This minimally invasive procedure involves controlled heating of multiple tiny needles that are
inserted through the skin and into the plantar fascia. This process, like PRP and Shockwave therapy, irritates the fascia enough to turn a chronic problem back into an acute problem, greatly
increasing the chances of healing. Heel Spur Surgery. Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy is one surgical procedure that we consider to release the tight fascia. University Foot and Ankle Institute has
perfected an endoscopic (camera guided) approach for fascia release to allow rapid healing and limited downtime with minimal pain.
Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can only be prevented by treating any underlying associated inflammatory disease.