Foot & Heel Bone Spurs – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
A bone spur is nothing but an excess growth of bone which leads to a small bump.
Most of the time it is caused by constant irritation of bone. This irritation can be the result of injury, chronic inflammation or recurrent friction to the foot bones.
Calcaneal spurs are the most common type of bone spurs found within foot area. Calcaneal bone is also known as heel bone and spur may develop at the back or base area.
These spurs do not cause any pain, but once it starts intruding the surrounding tissues of the foot, it can cause pain, inflammation & stiffness.
It is found that these conditions are more common in the female that male, and it can be blamed to the high heels shoes of women.
It is also known as osteophytes.
Causes of heel bone spurs
Foot bone spurs start to develop when foot bone start growing abnormally.
Recurrent friction, inflammation or stress leads to recurrent irritation of the foot bone. This irritation of bone tissues triggers the protective mechanism of the body causing an extra calcium deposit within the bone that develop into a bone spur.
As days goes and irritation continues, calcium deposits increase and spur-shaped abnormal growth forms.
This abnormal calcium deposit can occur for multiple reasons.
1. Tight fitting shoes
Tight fitting shoes or shoes with the wrong shape that the foot can lead to constant friction and may cause the development of heel bone spur. A good shoe is what keep your foot healthy and moving.
Lots of chronic foot pain cause chronic irritation bone cell leading to develop the bone spur. Condition like chronic arthritis, chronic tendonitis or spondylitis can be the cause.
3. Constant stress
Continuous stress on foot bone can also cause spur formation.
Abnormal foot biomechanics, muscles & ligament tightness, chronic local inflammation can cause extra pulling off part of bones to which tendons are attached. These pulling builds up constant stress on bone and helps to develop spurs.
Exercises like regular running or jumping, if not done properly may trigger the development of bone spurs.
Running or jumping barefoot on the hard surface can cause injuries to foot muscles, tendons & bones. These injuries may cause the formation of spurs.
Heel spur locations
Spurs that develop within the foot bones are commonly found being developed within the calcaneal bone or heel bone.
The spurs that develop within calcaneal bone is termed as calcaneal spurs. They occur at two common location on calcaneal bone –
- Posterior calcaneal bone spurs
- Inferior calcaneal bone spurs
Posterior calcaneal bone spurs
As the name suggest, these spurs develop on the back side of the calcaneal bone.
The common cause of this spur formation is Achilles Tendonitis, poorly fitting shoes & tightening of calf muscles. Sometimes the formation of this spur can cause irritation & inflammation of local bursa leading to development of Mulhulland Deformity (also know as Haglunds Deformity or Pump Bump)
Inferior calcaneal bone spurs
They found at inferior (lower) part of the calcaneal bone.
The common cause of this spur formation is plantar fasciitis, altered foot biomechanics, tight fitting shoes & recurrent barefoot running or jumping on a hard surface.
Symptoms of Heel spur
As these are an extra growth of bone, usually there in no any sign or symptoms unless & until it starts invading the surrounding tissues of the foot. Severity and type of symptoms also depend on what tissue it invades.
Once it starts to grow within surrounding tissues, it can create pain, inflammation and tenderness.
If it invades nerves then pain, tingling & numbness can be witnessed. Some people experience sharp pin like pain while some may experience dull aching pain that aggravates after rest. First few steps are more painful and severity of pain decreases as movement occurs.
As bone spurs are the protection mechanism of our body, no intervention is needed until it causes any severe pain, numbness or any other symptoms.
If there are no any symptoms but spurs are visible through a large lump of the foot, then there is no need of any treatment.
However, if they cause pain or numbness then proper treatment should be considered. Usually, regular foot stretching, icing the affected area and anti-inflammatory pills provide huge relief in pain.
If stretching exercise, icing and pain killer pills does not provide the relief the doctor may ask you to wear some foot orthotics along with a suggestion of corticosteroid injections.