Dr. Ertan Beyatlı

Heel Spurs - Symptoms and Causes

(Update: ) - Skin and soft tissue diseases

Heel spurs is a bone extension that occurs in the lower part of the heel and contains a high rate of calcium. It is also known as "Heel Spur" due to the appearance that resembles a large spike on the foot X-ray (X-ray).

It is called Calcaneal Spur, Calcaneal Spur, Calcaneal Epin in Latin. Sometimes this condition is not seen on x-rays and is called "Heel Spur Syndrome".

Although heel spurs are often painless and painless, they can sometimes cause very serious and unbearable pain. The cause of these pains is actually caused by the inflammation of the membrane and connective tissue that accompany the spur in the heel and connect the heel bone to the sole of the foot (plantar fasciitis).

Treatment includes foot exercises, special orthotic insoles and heels, anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone (steroid) needle injection. Surgical intervention may be considered for ongoing complaints despite these applications.

heel spurs
heel spurs

Causes of heel spurs

It takes a long time for calcium to accumulate in deposits and layers on the heel bone and form bony extensions in the form of heel spurs, often years and sometimes months. Among the factors that play a role in the formation of the thorn in the heel part:

  • straining the foot muscles and ligaments,
  • stretching of the connective tissue of the foot sole (plantar fascia),
  • Repetitive tearing of the membrane (membrane) surrounding the heel bone

Heel spurs are often seen in athletes and athletes, especially in the types of running and jumping activities.

Risk Factors for Heel Spurs

It is possible to protect this situation by avoiding the factors that trigger the formation of thorns in the heel. The main factors identified are: (How to prevent Heel Spurs - prevention)

  • Gait disturbances
  • Running, walking, jumping, jumping on hard floors
  • narrow or poorly fitting shoes, especially those with insufficient arch support
  • overweight and obesity
  • With aging, the flexibility of the foot sole connective tissue decreases and the protective fat pad layer becomes thinner.
  • Diabetes (Diabetes)
  • Standing for a long time
  • frequent and short-term physical activities
  • Flat sole (flat feet), high arch


Heel spurs are generally painless. Intermittent chronic and gradually increasing pain may occur due to soft tissue inflammation in the area of ​​the spine and recurrent tearing and stretching in the connective tissue. These pains are usually felt in the early hours of the mornings, even when first getting out of bed and standing on their feet.

Those who experience this condition tell that there is a pain like a knife or nail being stuck in the heel part. Later in the day, these pains subside and an unpleasant, indescribable pain continues. In advanced cases, pain may occur that may even cause gait disturbance.

Treatment Options for Heel Spurs

Non-surgical (medical) Treatment Methods

Rest and resting the feet may not be a good solution for the pain caused by the spurs in the heel. Because the pain usually decreases with walking. Therefore, brisk and regular walking is recommended. Prolonged walking and / or not walking can trigger complaints. Some conservative methods can be applied for ongoing complaints due to heel spurs for more than a month. For example:

  • Stretching exercises for the feet
  • Orthotic, orthopedic shoes
  • Taping or strapping to rest stressed muscles and tendons
  • silicone insoles, heels and other prostheses placed in shoes
  • Physical therapy applications
silicone heel spur
silicone heel spur

Some anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to reduce pain and inflammatory events in the area, such as acitamenophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. In some patients, for example, Biomechanical imbalances, functional orthotoxic devices can be used.

Despite these options, in order to reduce the inflammation in the area in the ongoing pain local anesthesia (LA) With the help of cortisone (steroid) injections can be applied to the heel part and especially to the heel spur.

heel spur cortisone injection
heel spur cortisone injection

Surgical Intervention Methods for Heel Spur

In fact, 90% of the patients can get rid of this situation with the effective application of the medical methods described above. In other words, surgical operation is required only in 10% of patients. Surgery may be considered in patients whose complaints continue for 9-12 months despite medical treatment. The principles in surgical intervention are as follows:

  • Relieving the sole of the foot (freeing the plantar fascia)
  • Removing the heel spur

Some tests can be done to determine the candidates before the surgery. Attention should be paid to postoperative rest, ice application, elevation of the foot, etc. Sometimes, special bandages, shoes, silicon heels can be used for a certain period of time.

Some complications associated with the surgery can occur, such as nerve pain, infection, scarring, imbalance, foot cramps, stress fractures and tendinitis.

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