What is Calcaneal Spur or Heel Spur:-
A calcaneal spur is a small bony projection that is formed on the calcaneus or heel bone. It is caused by putting too much pressure on the sinew on the soles of the feet, usually over a long period of time. Spurs at the back of the heel are associated with inflammation of the Achilles tendon (Achilles tendinitis) and cause tenderness and pain at the back of the heel that is made worse by pushing off the ball of the foot.
Spurs under the sole (plantar area) are associated with inflammation of the plantar fascia (the “bowstring-like” tissue stretching from the heel underneath the sole) and cause localized tenderness and pain made worse by stepping down on the heel.
Not all heel spurs cause symptoms. Some are discovered on xrays taken for other purposes. Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can occur alone or be related to underlying diseases which cause arthritis (inflammation of the joints) such as Reiter’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis.
Calcaneal spurs are typically detected by a radiological examination (x-ray). Heel spurs are most often seen in middle aged men and women, but can be found in all age groups.
In the conventional system of medicine there is no cure for calcaneal spur or heel spur. In conventional medicine treatment is designed to decrease the inflammation and avoid re-injures.
The patients are treated with pain killers such as ibuprofen or periodical injection of cortisone in the affected region. Sometimes surgical removal may require if calcaneal spur or heel spur is very large and if the symptoms do not reduce with medicines.
Over-the-counter or prescription of anti-inflammatory medications can help temporarily, but can cause side effects also. Prolonged use of the medicines causes significant gastrointestinal upset, ulceration and bleeding. The side effects of steroids injected in the affected area can be serious and can actually worsen symptoms. Complications can include fat necrosis (death of fatty tissue) of the heel and rupture of the plantar fascia.
Sometimes bone spurs can be surgically removed or an operation to loosen the fascia – called a plantar fascia release – can be performed. This surgery is about 80 percent effective in the small group of individuals who do not have relief with conservative treatment, but symptoms may return if preventative measures (wearing proper footwear, shoe inserts, stretching, etc) are not maintained.
In contrast, homoeopathy is a natural form of medicine. In a typical case of healing, a person’s complete symptoms will be treated all together. Also, once gone, these symptoms should never rise again.
While prescribing a drug a complete history of the patient is taken which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution and genetic predisposition to the disease. A properly prescribed homoeopathic remedy can lower the progression of disease and in highly susceptible people can prevent the occurrence or prolong the onset of disease.
Homoeopathy offers a treatment which is safe, gentle and will not end up with side effects. The allopathic medicines might provide immediate relief from the symptoms but the root cause of the problem is not touched upon and the dangerous side effects can be worse than the original symptoms. The treatment works at the deeper level of immunity and enhances the healing capacity of the body. Homoeopathy medicines improve the resistance of the body.
How homeopathy helps:-
It helps to reduce the inflammation of the affected area.
The remedies helps to reduce the pain in the affected area. Thus reducing the need for strong painkillers.
It can save you from a surgeon’s knife.
The treatment helps to strengthen your calf muscles so that calf muscles bear the maximum weight of your body.
It offers you a promising lifelong cure and you do not have to continue medicines for your whole life. With certain life style changes and homoeopathic medications this condition can be cured permanently.
There are 17 homoeopathic medicines which give great relief in calcaneal or heel spur. However, the correct choice and the resulting relief is a matter of experience and right judgment on the part of the doctor. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus remedies are tailor made unlike allopathy in which all patients receive the same surgery or drugs although trade name may be different.
Calcaneal spur develops due to many reasons like using improper foot wear, sudden increase in daily activities, weight gain, plantar fasciitis, where the plantar fascia that is present at the arch of the foot gets inflamed with calcium deposits and due to weak calf muscles that put pressure on the foot.
Severe pain on standing is the main symptom, which decreases with activity :
Weak calf muscles tend to add pressure to the foot
Plantar fasciitis – “itis” indicates the inflammation of the tissue (plantar fascia) at the arch of the foot.
The causes can range from excessive walking (especially if unaccustomed to walking), running or jumping to improperly fitted or wornout shoes. Runners, volleyball players, and tennis players, people who do step aerobics or stair climbing for exercise, those with flat feet, pregnant women, the obese and diabetics and those who wear tight fitting shoes with a high heel are all prone to developing spurs (and plantar fasciitis) more readily.
Every time you take a step, one of your heels has to support the whole weight of your body. As you move, the load is equal to 20 times your own body weight. The load is softened by a pillow of fat under the heel and a large sinew under the sole of the foot.
If an athlete does not warm up properly or a person with a sedentary job exercises heavily during the weekends, they might overload the muscles of the calf or the Achilles tendon. These are also fixed on the heel bone. When the muscles of the calf or Achilles tendon are overloaded there will be extra strain on the sinew and muscles in the soles of the foot. The overload can cause inflammation and even small cracks in the sinew.
Every time you sit down, sleep or otherwise rest your legs, the muscles of the sole of the foot will contract in an attempt to protect the damaged sinew. The pain in the heel will then no longer be felt. But when you get up again the pain will return and when you move again, the sinew will crack even more. To compensate for the repeated damage to the sinew, the body will try and repair it in the same way that it would attempt to repair a broken bone, namely, by wrapping it up in bone. The result is a small bony projection on the heel bone called a calcaneal spur. But it is not the spur itself that causes the pain. The spur is the result of a prolonged overload of the sinew at the sole of the foot.
Though all the people with spurs do not have heel pain, severe foot pain on standing is the main symptom of a calcaneal spur. The pain is more in the morning and decreases with activity. The spur forms due to the deposition of calcium near the plantar fascia. The heel pain arises due to the spur pricking the surrounding tissue. The heel pain has been depicted as toothache in the foot.
A sharp, stabbing pain under or on the inside of the heel.
The pain is typically relieved during rest, but is worse after getting up again.
As a rule of thumb, it is most painful first thing in the morning.
The pain is made worse by walking on a hard surface or carrying something heavy, such as a suitcase.
The pain can become so severe that it becomes difficult to continue your daily work.
Special risk groups :
Most sufferers are people who are overweight and middle aged. This is due to the shock absorbing fat pillow under the foot shrinking over the years and becoming less effective.
People who have feet that are pronated and not corrected. Pronated means that the foot tends to roll inwards when a person walks or runs.
How to Diagnose:–
Calcaneal or heel spurs are usually diagnosed by the symptoms revealed during a clinical examination. Heel bone spurs can be diagnosed with an x-ray foot where a bony outgrowth can be seen at the calcaneal bone near the attachment of plantar fascia. Radiological proof helps exclude other conditions like arthritis, stress fractures and so on.
Once a calcaneal spur develops it can be a difficult condition to treat. However, many cases involve only minor ligament damage, which is relieved in a matter of weeks or months.
Prevention by taking early corrective measures against any predisposing factors will improve the longterm prognosis.
Avoid walking barefoot
Shoes are a must to support the arch of the foot even when at home. Arch supports and heel cups cushion the heel and reduce the weight bearing on the foot during activities.
The intensity and duration of activity and weight bearing should be reduced. Staying off the feet can help a lot.
The workout regimen should consist of mild stretches for strengthening of foot and calf muscles so as to reduce the tension on the heel mechanically.
Cold and heat therapy:-
Rolling an ice bottle under the foot can reduce acute pain. In chronic cases heat application also helps reduce the symptoms.
Losing weight can reduce the extra pressure that plantar fascia bears with every step.
Fully covered footwear