Bone spurs (retrocalcaneal spur, or exostosis) can develop not only on the back of the heel, but also on the toes, mainly around the fifth (small) toe. Most often, they occur next to the toenail on
the outside of the toe; on the inside of the toe near the tip, where the fifth toe presses against the fourth toe; and on the inside of the base of the toe. Bone spurs can also occur on the sides of
the toes. This is usually due to wearing shoes that are too tight in the toe box, which causes the toes to press against each other. Bone spurs may also develop in the arch area of the top of the
foot; this area becomes painful when you tie your shoelaces tightly or exert other pressure on that part of the foot. Formation of spurs in this area is often associated with arthritis.
An individual with the lower legs angulating inward, a condition called genu valgum or "knock knees," can have a tendency toward excessive pronation. As a result, this too can lead to a fallen arch
resulting in plantar fascitis and heel spurs. Women tend to have more genu valgum than men do. Heel spurs can also result from an abnormally high arch. Other factors leading to heel spurs include a
sudden increase in daily activities, an increase in weight, or a change of shoes. Dramatic increase in training intensity or duration may cause plantar fascitis. Shoes that are too flexible in the
middle of the arch or shoes that bend before the toe joints will cause an increase in tension in the plantar fascia and possibly lead to heel spurs.
Heel spurs often do not show any symptoms. If you have intermittent or chronic pain when you walk, run or jog, it may be heel spur. There will be inflammation the point where spur formation happens.
The pain is caused by soft tissue injury in the heel. Patients often describe the pain as a pin or knife sticking to the heel. The pain is more specially in the morning when the patient stands up for
the first time.
Sharp pain localized to the heel may be all a doctor needs to understand in order to diagnose the presence of heel spurs. However, you may also be sent to a radiologist for X-rays to confirm the
presence of heel spurs.
Non Surgical Treatment
There are many ways to treat heel spurs. Some remedies you can even do at home once a podiatrist shows you how. Heel spur treatment is very similar to treatment of plantar fasciitis. Here are a few
of the most common treatments. First, your doctor will assess which activities are causing your symptoms and suggest rest and time off from these activities. Ice packs are used to control pain and
reduce symptoms. Certain exercises and stretches help you to feel relief quickly. Medications that reduce inflammation and decrease pain are also used. Sometimes cortisone injections are given. Often
special shoe orthotics can help to take the pressure off of the plantar fascia and reduce symptoms. Night splints that keep your heel stretched are sometimes recommended. Rarely, surgery is an
option. A new treatment called extracorporeal shock wave therapy is being studied.
Surgery, which is a more radical treatment, can be a permanent correction to remove the spur itself. If your doctor believes that surgery is indicated, he will recommend an operation - but only after
establishing that less drastic methods of treatment are not successful.
Use orthotic inserts. You can purchase orthotics over the counter, or you can have orthotics specially fitted by your podiatrist. Try 1 of these options. Heel cups. These inserts will help to align
the bones in your foot and to cushion your heel. Check your skin for blisters when you first start using heel cups. Also, your feet may sweat more with a heel cup, so change your socks and shoes
often. Insoles. While you can pick up generic insoles at a drugstore, you may have more luck if you go to a store that sells athletic shoes. Push on the arch to make sure that it doesn't collapse. If
your insoles help but could use a little work, you can take them to a podiatrist to get them customized. Custom orthotics. A podiatrist can make a cast of your foot and provide you with custom-made
orthotics. These may be more expensive, but they are made of materials specifically designed for your needs, and they can last up to 5 years if your podiatrist refurbishes them every 1 or 2 years. To
find a podiatrist near you, look at the Web page for the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. Dynamic Insoles. Lack of elasticity in plantar fascia in the foot is for most people the real
problem. If there is poor elasticity in the lengthwise tendons in the foot (plantar fascia) in relation to a person's general condition, only a small additional strain is required for the pull on the
tendons to cause damage to the tissues connecting the tendons to the heel bone. This will generate an inflamed condition called Plantar Fasciitis.