Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What is a heel spur?

Have you ever wondered what exactly a heel spur was?  I've heard of people having them, but never really understood what they were or how someone could have gotten one.  I've done some research and here is what I found.

Lets talk about what a heel spur is.  First of all, the heel bone is the largest bone in the foot which absorbs the most shock and pressure. A heel spur originates as an abnormal growth on the heel bone.  Calcium deposits form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel.  This causes a bony protrusion or heel spur to develop.  The plantar fascia is a band of fibrous tissue located on the bottom surface of the foot.  This band of tissue runs from the heel to the forefoot.  Heel spurs can cause extreme pain, especially when standing or walking.

What causes a heel spur?  A heel spur can develop when calcium deposits from as an abnormal growth in the heel bone when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel.  The stretching of the plantar fascia is usually the result of over-pronation, but heel spurs can also occur in people with unusually high arches.  Women have a higher tendency of having heel spurs due to the types of footwear they wear on a regular basis.

So now that I have a heel spur, how do I treat it?  In order to treat the heel spur properly, your doctor will need to know what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia.  If the cause of your heel spur is due to over-pronation, an orthotic device with rearfoot posting and longitudinal arch support will allow the condition to heal.  Some other common treatments can include losing weight, wearing shoes with a cushioned heel, elevating the heel by use of a heel cradle, heel cup or orthotic.  Heel cups and heel cradles will provide extra comfort and cushion to the heel.  This will reduce the amount of shock your heel encounters from everyday activities.  Also, stretching exercises with a Thera-Band Foot Roller can help in many ways.  This foot roller can be chilled or frozen to help with inflammation, messages the foot to relieve arch and foot pain.
If your problem continues or if you have any questions about heel spurs, you can contact us at 419-423-1888 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Vail or visit our website http://www.vailfoot.com/.

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