Heel Spurs are calcium deposits that develop on the underside of the heel bone that sometimes become a painful bony protrusion. Though not always painful, they often develop as a sub-condition of Plantar Fasciitis.
What Causes a Heel Spur?
Heel spurs are developed when an excessive amount of strain or stretching is placed on the plantar fascia (the flat band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes). The stress causes small tears in the membrane that covers the heel. As a result, calcium deposits slowly develop over a period of time that could span months or years. When the calcium deposits grow large enough, they press into the heel pad and cause pain and other symptoms.
Heel spurs are most common in older patients, but are likely to develop in runners, weightlifters, people that are overweight and people that tend to wear shoes that do not fit correctly.
Do I Have a Heel Spur?
The pain of a heel spur is not always constant. The pain tends to be the most intense first thing in the morning or when standing, walking or jogging.
If you believe you may have a heel spur, contact your podiatrist so that they can take a look at your medical history and evaluate your pattern of activity. Areas of pain will be tested and an X-ray will often be necessary to eliminate other possible causes or to identify other complications. An ultrasound may also be administered to the plantar fascia to identify the extent of scarring or damage.