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HEEL SPUR GUIDE

Heel spur - a nasty companion

from UXGO
July 18, 2019, 13:32 p.m.

Finally closing time. After hours of work, finally get out of your shoes and up on the sofa, feet up and relax. But the pain in the foot remains. 

Occupational groups that are long and often on their feet are often affected. Because heel spur is usually the cause of heavy overloading of the feet. Since the heel spur is a degenerative (wear-related) disease, it occurs particularly in athletes and people from 40 to 60. In the following we want to explain to you what exactly happens and which possibilities there are for a heel spur treatment.


Heel spur - what is this anyway?

 

Probably the best known heel pain with the lowest degree of popularity results from the heel spur.

"At the beginning, the pain occurred in phases, later permanently, always with different intensity. It was particularly bad at night and in the morning. In the course of the day the pain decreased paradoxically despite load."
Michael Reile, 59, Production Manager.

The heel spur, also called calcaneus spur ('calcaneus' lat. for heel bone) or heel spur, is a bony growth on the heel bone. The spur itself is a thorn-like structure and often reminds optically of the claw bent backwards in birds. It can occur at the top (cranial) as well as at the bottom (plantar/dorsal) of the tendon attachments. 

Why does this spur develop and what exactly happens there?

If the muscles around the heel get too much tension, then the tendon pulls at the bone, in this case at the heel bone. This creates a cavity in which osteoplasts (bone formers) are deposited, forming the heel spur. The longer the tension is effective, the more accessible the cavity is and the more storage can take place. It is important to provide relaxation so that the cavities close and the spur does not develop in the first place or at least cannot grow any further.

Lower heel spur (a)

 

The heel spur most frequently occurs on the tendon plate of the sole of the foot (plantar fascia). The tendon plate is a strong strand of connective tissue located between the heel and the metatarsophalangeal joint. The plantar tendon absorbs shocks when walking and thus maintains the shape of the longitudinal arch of the foot. In case of incorrect or overloading, microcracks in the tissue occur, resulting in overstretching of the tendon. The body tries to strengthen the weakening at this point by small calcium deposits. These grow successively and can thus grow into a heel spur. The spur attaches to the back of the tendon plate and points in the direction of the toes. It is located on the sole of the foot, which can cause stabbing heel pain if it occurs.

 

Upper heel spur (b) 

 

The upper heel spur occurs less frequently. It forms on the upper part of the heel bone, about 2-3 cm below the base of the Achilles tendon. An Achilles tendon inflammation (Achyllidia) can be recognized by the fact that it is located 3-5 cm above the base of the Achilles tendon.

The upper heel spur is also caused by small cracks (micro traumas) in the tissue. In contrast to the Haglund heel, which results from a mechanical overload, the callous spur at the beginning of the tendon is caused by the Achilles tendon pulling too strongly. This can be caused, for example, by a shortened calf muscle and is therefore a reaction to overstrain.

Permanent overloading causes more and more micro cracks and more and more calcium is deposited. The source of the pain, however, is the inflamed tissue surrounding the tendon insertions.

Not always, a heel spur must be painful, often it is discovered purely by chance in the x-ray. The severe, stabbing heel pain, which is triggered by so-called alarm receptors on the periosteum as soon as there is too much pressure on the bone and the associated tendon, is only caused by overloading and inflammation. 

The good news is that the heel spur itself is harmless and has no long-term consequences, and the pain in the heel usually disappears over time. Through individual heel spur treatment, further calcium deposits and inflammations can be prevented and the patient can go through life without pain or worries.


Symptoms

 

The first symptoms of heel spur do not appear until the connective tissue is inflamed. A classic characteristic of the heel spur is the pain at start-up (running away after getting up), which usually occurs in the morning. It feels like stepping on a nail or shard, burning and drilling. After a certain amount of stress, the pain subsides again and can recur throughout the day, usually after rest periods of the foot. 

This is the typical pain for the lower heel spur. It lies on the sole of the foot and is therefore exposed to more frequent direct pressure. With the upper heel spur, the pain is at the base of the Achilles' vision. The area can also be swollen or reddened.


Treatment and Therapy

 

The heel spur is a protracted and individually treatable disease of the foot. This makes it all the more important for your doctor to make the right diagnosis and find the cause. The best way to recognize a heel spur is via x-rays, especially when a chronic disease is present. In order to avoid this, you can do in advance what are common therapy methods and heel spur treatments after diagnosis.

As soon as a heel spur has been diagnosed, it is urgently advisable to refrain from intensive sport and from other strong strains on the foot (hikes, long walks and standing, wrong footwear, etc.).

In the short term, the aim is to reduce the inflammation of the connective tissue in order to relieve heel pain. For this, a gentle gait is called for.


Fast measures and short-term heel spur treatment

 

Calming ointments or light painkillers relieve the pain temporarily and ease the daily routine. Your doctor will tell you what is best for you.

Heel cushions and slightly raised heels relieve the strain on the foot and help the inflammation to subside, even while you are putting pressure on the foot.


Heel spur sets


Long-term heel spur treatment

 

Custom-made insoles have often proved their worth and reduce the pressure by their foam lining at the point of the heel spur.

In the case of overweight, a weight reduction is advantageous, as is an even load on the feet.
For athletes, longer periods of rest should be deliberately taken and specific warm-up exercises should take place before training.

It is not only athletes who are well advised to wear the right footwear. Uxgo has special and healthy footwear that is ideal for combination with an insole.
Foot gymnastics strengthens the foot muscles and is therefore recommended.

In the case of an acute diagnosis, only extreme protection and stretching of the shortened musculature can help. In this case, other forms of therapy and treatment methods are also necessary. Heel spur operations are the exception, as they do not necessarily guarantee an improvement and involve certain risks.

Details on the different heel spur treatments and exercises can be found in our professional article "Treat heel spur well."

Read more


Treatment and therapy - for heel spur disease

 

A heel spur is a long-lasting foot disease that needs to be treated individually. This makes it more important for your doctor to make the right diagnosis and find the cause.

The best way to recognise a heel spur is through X-rays, especially if the condition is chronic. To avoid this, you can do in advance common therapy methods and heel spur treatments after diagnosis. Once a heel spur has been diagnosed, it is highly advisable to refrain from intensive sports and from other strong stresses on the foot (hiking, long walking and standing, wrong footwear, etc.).

In the short term, the goal is to let the inflammation in the connective tissue subside in order to relieve the heel pain. To do this, take it easy.

Quick measures and short-term heel spur treatment


Soothing ointments or mild painkillers temporarily relieve the pain and make everyday routines easier. Your doctor will tell you what is best for you.

Heel cushions and slightly elevated heels relieve the foot and help the inflammation to subside, even while you are putting weight on the foot.


Long-term heel spur treatment


Made-to-measure shoe insoles have often proven effectiveness and relieve pressure through their foam underlay at the site of the heel spur.

In cases of overweight, weight reduction is beneficial, as an even weight bearing on the feet. Athletes should consciously take longer rest periods and do specific warm-up exercises before training. Not only athletes are well advised to get the right footwear.

UXGO has special and healthy footwear that is ideal for combination with an insole. In the case of an acute diagnosis, only extreme care and stretching of the shortened muscles will help. In this case, other forms of therapy and treatment methods are also necessary. Heel spur surgery is the exception, as it does not necessarily guarantee improvement and carries certain risks.

You can find details on the various exercises in our article "Heel spur exercises".

LEARN MORE


Heel spur sets




Tip in the Box

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Family tree as a profilaxis:

One indication that you may be more susceptible to heel spurs than others is your genetic predisposition.

Some people are prone to inflammatory tendon and muscle attachments in the shoulder, elbow, pelvis or foot. These are so-called enthesopathies. Heel spurs also belong to this predisposition.

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