Heel Spurs are often the cause of serious pain in the heel of the foot. Heel spurs can easily interfere and disrupt your daily lifestyle as they generate aching pain with every step. Many factors can contribute to the development of a spur, but luckily there are conservative ways to stop pain and reverse the condition.
Pain that results from a heel spur is usually characterized by a sharp poking and is localized to the heel or under the heel. Aching pain can become very severe and inflammation and bruising can also occur. When taking a step or when putting pressure on the heel, pain can escalate, particularly after prolonged periods of rest like the first step after getting out of bed in the morning.
A heel spur is a growth of bone that extends from the heel bone (calcaneous). The spur itself has no feeling. However, these bony outgrowths usually extend from the heel bone into the soft tissue surrounding the bottom of the foot, causing inflammation of the plantar fascia (fasciitis) and pain throughout the heel of the foot.
The heel spur is composed of calcium deposits. This bony deposit develops when the plantar fascia stretches abnormally due to stress factors and occurs where the ligament attaches and stretches away from the heel bone. These pointed outgrowths, which can be visible through an X-ray, are often hooked and extend forward toward your toes as much as half an inch.
In most cases, heel spurs occur in persons over the age of 40 and can result from a number of different reasons. Spurs can begin to form as a result of obesity or sudden weight gain, such as during pregnancy, which can place continuous and excessive weight on the heel of the foot. Another common cause of heel spurs is wearing ill-fitting shoes which fail to properly support the heel and other important areas of the foot. Pronation, which is the abnormal motion and misalignment of the foot, can also contribute to this condition. With excessive pronation, the plantar fascia, which is a bow-like ligament along the bottom of the foot, could be stretched and forced to pull away from the heel bone, contributing to the development of a spur. Other causes of heel spurs may be attributed to gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Due to the heel spur’s protrusion into the tendons and nerves of the foot, aching pain may be severe and continuous. Although the formation and subsequent pain of the heel spur may be caused from stress on the area around the heel, the pain actually decreases after walking. This is because the capillaries and nerves adjust around the spur, which is why pain is usually most severe when pressure is put on it after periods of rest. This pain may also increase when walking on hard surfaces or when carrying heavy objects.