Suffering from sharp pain in your feet when you wake up? Feels like a knife or pin digging onto the underside of your heel? You could be suffering from heel spur.
People at risk of suffering from heel spur include:
•Those who have walking gait abnormalities, which place excessive stress on the heel bone, ligaments, and nerves near the heel
•Running or jogging, especially on hard surfaces
•Poorly fitted or badly worn shoes, especially those lacking appropriate arch support- very flat shoes
•Excess weight and obesity
•Athletes whose activities include long stretches of running and jumping
•People who begin jogging or walking daily after years of no exercise.
A heel spur is a calcium deposit causing a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel bone. They are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the fibrous band of connective tissue (plantar fascia) that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot
In order to protect the heel’s surrounding tissues from repetitive damage and strain, cells that specialise in forming bone migrate to the site and start depositing calcium, which leads to the formation of heel spurs. This calcium build-up is a process that typically occurs over a period of many months. A heel spur is only observable by an X-ray and is painful when inflammation develops in the tissues surrounding it.
More often than not, heel spurs have no signs or symptoms, and you do not feel any pain. This is because heel spurs are not pointy or sharp pieces of bone, contrary to common belief. Heel spurs do not cut tissue every time movement occurs; they are actually deposits of calcium on bone set in place by the body’s normal bone-forming mechanisms. This means they are smooth and flat, just like all other bones.
Because there is already tissue present at the site of a heel spur, sometimes that area and the surrounding tissue get inflamed/irritated, leading to a number of symptoms, such as chronic heel pain that occurs when jogging or walking.
Another cause of heel spur pain comes from the development of new fibrous tissue around the bony spur, which acts as a cushion over the area of stress. As this tissue grows, a callus forms and takes up even more space than the heel spur — leading to less space for the thick surrounding network of tendons, nerves, ligaments and supporting tissue. These important structures in the foot have limited space because of calcium or tissue buildup, which leads to swelling and redness of the foot, and a deep throbbing pain worsened with exercise.
If you have heel pain that persists for more than one month, consult a health care provider. He or she may recommend conservative treatments such as:
•Taping or strapping to rest stressed muscles and tendons
•Shoe inserts or orthotic devices
In some cases, injection with a corticosteroid may be done to relieve inflammation in the area.
Over 90 per cent of people get better with nonsurgical treatments. If conservative treatment fails to treat symptoms surgery may be necessary to relieve pain.