Typical symptom of a heel spur: The first steps after getting up in the morning are particularly uncomfortable. About ten percent of Germans are affected, women more than men. The therapy can be long and in most cases requires a lot of patience. But there are things you can do yourself to ease the pain.
Calcaneal spur symptom: pain on exertion
Walking pain is the main sign of heel spurs. They are described as burning, piercing or stabbing – “like a nail driving into your hoe”. As a general rule, they appear mainly in the morning, that is to say at the start of the effort, and diminish during the day. However, if you then take a break, the pain returns when you start exercising again. Persistent pain can occur when the inflammation is already chronic.
However, the heel spur does not always cause problems – sometimes it is only discovered incidentally during an X-ray examination.
Heel spurs are caused by overuse
In the foot, 26 bones lie loosely together. They are held in place by muscles and tendons. The tendon plate supports the arch of the foot and protects the bottom from injury. A heel spur is always the result of an overload, the sensitive “foot” system is disturbed. The reasons can be a too flat arch of the foot, being overweight, intensive sports or ill-fitting shoes. This causes the arch of the foot to collapse and the tendon below it to be forcibly stretched. Result: it catches fire.
If this condition persists for a long time, the body tries to relieve the foot. It stores calcium to shorten the tendon – a so called plantar heel spur jumpscares. Also the approach of The Achilles tendon can become inflamed. If lime deposits here, the so-called dorsal heel spur.
Heel spurs are diagnosed by x-ray
With a plantar heel spur, there is a sharp pressure pain just below the heel at the heel bone. With a dorsal heel spur, pressure pain at the insertion of the Achilles tendon is typical. Redness and swelling may also occur. A foot x-ray is needed to reliably identify a heel spurs.
Heel spur surgery is outdated
Previously, it was assumed that the heel spur was causing heel pain and therefore needed to be removed. But researchers now know that the pain is caused by an inflamed tendon plaque.
Treatment of heel spur with anti-inflammatories
The mainstay of treatment is therefore usually drug therapy to relieve pain and inhibit inflammation. For many years, cortisone injections were standard treatment. Today they are used with caution because cortisone has an anti-inflammatory effect but can lead to metabolic changes in the tendon. In the worst case, the tendon tears.
Self help for heel spurs
Other therapeutic methods – such as certain stretching exercises – have therefore established themselves in the meantime. It is also helpful to lose any excess weight and change your diet so that it has an anti-inflammatory effect.