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Heel Spur

A heel spur (also known as a calcaneal spur) is a small bone spur located on the heel bone. Heel spurs are typically detected by an X-ray examination.

When a foot bone is exposed to constant stress, calcium deposits build up on the bottom of the heel bone. Generally, this has no effect on a person's daily life. However, repeated damage can cause these deposits to pile up on each other, causing a spur-shaped deformity.

Heel spurs are sometimes caused by Plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammatory process of the connective tissue on the sole of the foot. In this case, foot pain is usually being caused by plantar fasciitis rather than the heel spur itself.

Who it affects: 
Obese people, flat-footed people, and women who constantly wear high-heeled shoes are most susceptible to heel spurs.
Major symptoms consist of pain in the region surrounding the spur which typically increases in intensity after prolonged periods of rest. Patients may report heel pain to be more severe when waking up in the morning. Patients may not be able to bear weight on the afflicted heel comfortably. Running, walking or lifting heavy weight might make the pain worse.

Many treatment options exist, and good results are often observed. Generally, a calcaneal spur develops when proper care is not given to the foot and heels. It is often seen as a repetitive stress injury, and thus lifestyle modification is typically the most basic of management strategies.

To alleviate heel spur pain, begin doing foot and calf workouts. Strong muscles in the calves and lower legs will help take the stress off your bone, and thus help cure/prevent heel spurs. Icing the area is a great way to get immediate pain relief.

Image Credit: 
Image created by Lucien Monfils. This file is licensed under a Creative Commons license.