After 40-45 years, many women experience acute pain in the foot, even with small loads on the legs or walking. Unpleasant sensations are localized in the heel region, they are constantly intensifying. Over time, the pain syndrome becomes very intense, limits mobility and even leads to disability.
What is a heel spur?
In medicine, the pathology in question is called plantar fasciitis. The disease is a growth of the bone in the region of the calcaneal tuber. It can be located in the area of attachment of the Achilles tendon or on the plantar side. The process has the shape of a spike or wedge, which is why the disease is also known as a heel spur. This is a chronic problem that requires regular treatment. Otherwise, it will progress rapidly and cause complications.
Heel spur – causes
The formation of bone growth is a secondary manifestation of pathology. There are several stages during which plantar fasciitis develops, the causes of heel growth are explained by the following sequential processes:
- Micro tears in tissues. To maintain the longitudinal arch of the foot, special ligaments are used – fascia. In the vertical position of the body, they are subjected to serious loads, they account for about half of the total mass of a person. Because of this, multiple microscopic tears can occur.
- Inflammation. If the integrity of the fasciae is not restored, the sites of their damage swell and bleed. An aseptic inflammatory process begins.
- Bone growth. The body tries to protect the surrounding structures. As a reaction to inflammation, a heel spur is formed. It serves as an insulator between damaged fascia and healthy tissue.
Plantar fasciitis – causes of inflammation
The main factor triggering the mechanism of the development of the disease is the formation of microscopic tears in the retaining ligaments of the joint. Plantar fasciitis of the foot begins for the following reasons:
- excess body weight;
- heel or foot injury;
- frequent wearing of high-heeled shoes;
- ankylosing spondylitis;
- longitudinal flat feet;
- age-related changes in the body associated with thinning of the fat pad under the skin.
Heel spur – symptoms
The clinical picture of this disease is pronounced and easily diagnosed. Plantar fasciitis has the following symptoms:
- sharp, burning pain in the heel region during physical exertion;
- change in gait, support on the front of the foot;
- the occurrence of pain immediately after waking up;
- transverse flat feet;
- limitation of mobility, the need for a cane or other devices for walking;
- intensification and constancy of pain, loss of ability to work.
What a heel spur looks like can only be seen on an x-ray. There are no external signs of the described pathology. In extremely rare cases, slight swelling and callosity of the skin is noticeable in the area of the calcaneus. Diagnosing a spur is easy according to several criteria:
- human complaints;
- localization, intensity and time of onset of pain;
- limitation of foot mobility;
- pain when pressing on the base of the heel and its lateral areas;
- x-ray (as confirmation).
Heel spur – treatment
Therapy of plantar fasciitis involves only alleviating the condition of a person, reducing or eliminating pain and restoring foot mobility. Radical treatment of heel spurs, which allows you to completely get rid of it, has not yet been developed. The bone growth cannot be removed, but you can live quite comfortably with it when using effective therapy.
Plantar fasciitis – which doctor should I contact?
The surgeon will help to establish the correct diagnosis. In most cases, the doctor determines the disease during the examination. In difficult situations, or if it is necessary to differentiate the diagnosis from arthritis, flat feet and other pathologies of the musculoskeletal system, consultations of related specialists and an x-ray are prescribed. How to cure a heel spur, the orthopedist will also tell you. This doctor deals exclusively with bone and joint diseases.
Plantar fasciitis – drug treatment
Conservative therapy is reduced to the application of local drugs with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. They are used up to 5 times a day for 2-3 weeks. First, the doctor prescribes a gel, cream or ointment for heel spurs:
- Olfen and analogues.
Thanks to the listed medicines, the heel spur causes less pain, the mobility and sensitivity of the foot improves. Additionally, you can use pepper or vegetable patches. They produce an irritating and distracting effect, reduce swelling and relieve pain. If local treatment does not have the expected effect, injection therapy in the form of blockades is used. The classic option is Novocain injections into the fascia area, they are performed no more than 2 times a day and only during an exacerbation of the pathology.
With intense inflammation, blockades with glucocorticosteroid hormones will be required (1-3 procedures):
Taping for plantar fasciitis
Gluing a special patch, which maximally matches the elasticity of human skin, helps to relieve the load on the muscles of the foot and ligaments, relaxes them, prevents the emergence of new micro-tears, and stops inflammation. To obtain tangible results, it is necessary to do kinesio taping for at least 4 weeks, severe plantar fasciitis requires longer therapy, up to 2 months. The options for applying the patch are shown in the photographs below.
Orthopedic insoles for plantar fasciitis
The devices in question are an auxiliary method of treatment or maintenance therapy, they prevent relapses of the disease. Heel pads for heel spurs are effective only in the early stages of the pathology. They lift the back of the foot, which reduces the load on the leg. Additionally, these accessories serve as shock absorbers when walking, and the foot hurts less.
A progressive heel spur involves the use of full-fledged orthopedic insoles. They contribute to the correct biomechanics, redistribute the load on the feet and maintain the correct position of the fascia in the joint. Insoles reduce fatigue when walking, improve blood circulation in the legs and relieve pain. Such devices are selected only individually, they are made by special order.
Exercises for plantar fasciitis
Physiotherapy exercises are necessary to increase the elasticity of the ligamentous apparatus and prevent microscopic ruptures. Gymnastics with plantar fasciitis is as simple as possible and can be done at home. It cannot be performed if a heel spur is diagnosed. Exercises are prescribed only after the relief of exacerbation:
- Scatter small objects with blunt edges on the floor. Collect them with your toes in a wide bowl or plate.
- Place the foot on an elevated plane (thick book, step) so that the support falls on the toe and the heel hangs down. Raise and lower the foot, bending it at the ankle, until tolerable pain appears.
- Sit on a chair. Put any cylindrical object on the floor (bottle, rolling pin). Roll it with the sole of your foot.
Treatment of heel spurs with shock wave therapy
This method is considered the most effective and modern way to combat the disease. It helps in 90% of cases to relieve plantar fasciitis, the treatment has the following effects:
- decreased sensitivity of pain receptors;
- elimination of puffiness;
- loosening of calcifications (bone growths);
- acceleration of metabolic processes;
- increasing the elasticity of the ligamentous apparatus;
- normalization of joint mobility.
Shock wave therapy for heel spurs consists of a course of manipulations. In total, 5-8 procedures will be required. Each session lasts 10-30 minutes. Shock sound waves can cause pain, but with each subsequent visit to the doctor, their intensity decreases. The break between manipulations should be from 3 to 20 days, depending on the severity of the pathology.
Heel spur – treatment with folk remedies
Alternative medicine options are not effective in dealing with plantar fasciitis. Methods such as treating a heel spur can be used as ancillary interventions, but only in combination with conservative therapy. Before using folk recipes, it is important to consult a surgeon or orthopedist, the doctor must approve the selected remedies.
Heel spur – treatment at home with tincture
- burdock roots – 2 tbsp. spoons;
- celandine grass – 2 tbsp. spoons;
- vodka – 0.5 l.
- Mix dry vegetable raw materials.
- Place the herbs in a clean half-liter jar.
- Fill them with vodka to the brim.
- Close the jar, put in a cool place.
- Leave the remedy for 6-7 days.
- Strain the solution.
- Rub the sore heel with a spur with the resulting preparation every evening, before going to bed.
- After the procedure, put on a warm sock.
Heel spur treatment at home quickly with ointment
- butter with maximum fat content – 200 g;
- natural propolis – 25 g.
- Grind bee glue.
- Melt it in a water bath.
- Mix with soft butter.
- Transfer the ointment to a clean, dry container.
- Before going to bed, rub the affected area with this remedy.
Heel spur removal
Surgery is recommended in exceptional cases (less than 5%). This is an effective but dangerous way to get rid of a heel spur. During the operation, the plantar fascia is either cut or cut away from the bone. Additionally, the doctor can partially or completely remove the adductor muscle of the big toe, level the surface of the heel. Surgical intervention is performed under local anesthesia, classical or laparoscopic technique. It is well tolerated, but sometimes causes complications:
- tarsal tunnel syndrome;
- recurrent pain in the heel zone;
- wound infection;
- worsening of spur symptoms.