The heel bone is the largest bone in the
foot and absorbs the most amount of shock and pressure. A heel spur
develops as an abnormal growth of the heel bone. Calcium deposits form
when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel area, causing a bony
protrusion, or heel spur to develop. The plantar fascia is a broad band of
fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from
the heel to the forefoot. Heel spurs can cause extreme pain in the
rearfoot, especially while standing or walking.
Heel spurs develop as an abnormal growth in
the heel bone due to calcium deposits that form when the plantar fascia
pulls away from the heel. This stretching of the plantar fascia is usually
the result of over-pronation (flat feet), but people with unusually high
arches (pes cavus) can also develop heel spurs. Women have a significantly
higher incidence of heel spurs due to the types of footwear often worn on
a regular basis.
Treatment and Prevention
The key for the proper treatment of heel
spurs is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the
plantar fascia. When the cause is over-pronation (flat feet), an orthotic
with rearfoot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device
to reduce the over-pronation, and allow the condition to heal.
Other common treatments include stretching
exercises, losing weight, wearing shoes that have a cushioned heel that
absorbs shock, and elevating the heel with the use of a heel cradle, heel
cup, or orthotic. Heel cradles and heel cups provide extra comfort and
cushion to the heel, and reduce the amount of shock and shear forces
experienced from everyday activities.
If the problem persists, consult your