Help For Heel Spurs – North Adelaide Orthotics
Heel spurs are a particularly painful and debilitating condition and is commonly seen in our orthotic shop. North Adelaide Orthotics offer custom orthotic solutions for a range of painful problems throughout our local and surrounding Walkerville, Medindie, Bowden and Croydon communities.
What are Heel Spurs?
Heel spurs are a small bony growth located on your heel (calcaneus). These spurs form when connective tissue is overloaded for an extended period of time. The body’s natural response is to strengthen the fatigued connective tissue by laying down a stronger material, in this case, bone.
Heel spurs are closely associated with, and commonly form in response to, longstanding plantar fasciitis. Up to 70% of patients with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs but very few are painful, it is the plantar fasciitis which causes the pain. The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs from your heel to your toes, helping to create the arch of your foot. The plantar fascia works as a very important shock absorber, and if overloaded, micro tears occur in the tissue resulting in inflammation and significant heel pain. The most effective way to resolve heel spurs is by understanding the condition and addressing the true underlying causes.
Causes of Heel Spurs
Heel spurs are closely related to plantar fasciitis as it is an end stage response to longstanding inflammation and thickening of the plantar fascia. For this reason it is important to focus on the plantar fasciitis as this is the cause of heel spurs. Plantar fasciitis is the result of excessive load placed on the ligament that helps create your arch, the plantar fascia. This load is typically due to repetitive activities which stress the tissue beyond its ability to accommodate the demands you are placing on it.
The most common causes of plantar fasciitis include:
• Foot structure (both high arch and flat feet)
• Poor foot posture (feet roll in when you walk)
• Excessive weight or sudden weight gain
• Poor footwear
• Muscular imbalances
Signs You May Have Heel Spurs
Remember it is likely that the pain you are feeling is from the associated plantar fasciitis and not your spur. Plantar fasciitis is easy to diagnose. If you suffer from pain (sharp or dull) and stiffness in the heel of your foot, it is likely that you are suffering with plantar fasciitis.
The pain of plantar fasciitis is usually worse at the following times:
• In the morning when you take your first steps
• After standing or sitting for a while
• Climbing stairs
• After intense activity
Management of Heel Spurs
In order to successfully manage heel spurs (plantar fasciitis), it is important to address the cause of the problem rather than simply managing the symptoms. Employing the latest technology and biomechanical assessment techniques, we are able to identify those tissues under excessive load allowing us to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address your specific needs. Your goal should be to allow the micro tears in your plantar fascia to heal by seeking out the correct combination of treatment options. Typically your plan will involve biomechanical correction, self-management strategies, and modalities that address any structural imbalance.
Treatment options for plantar fasciitis include:
• Soft tissue mobilisation
• Stretching and strengthening
• Weight loss
• Motion control running shoes
• Electrophysical agents (cold therapy or heat therapy)
• Anti-inflammatory medications
• Injection of corticosteroids
Failing to correctly manage plantar fasciitis may result in chronic heel pain, the possible development of heel spurs, and altered lower limb biomechanics which may lead to knee, hip or back pain. In rare cases, heel spurs may require surgery which involves removal of the spur and may also include release of the plantar fascia.
To help improve your heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) and ensure that you get back to your best as quickly as possible, the following steps can be taken:
- Watch the self-assessment video and analyse your foot posture.
- Consider the causes of low arches above, and determine which may be relevant to your particular situation.
- Arrange a free lower limb biomechanical assessment (valued at $79). Simply click on the free gait analysis button below to download your free voucher and start addressing your pain today.