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Heel Spurs


Heel spur or plantar fasciatis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia. "Plantar" refers bottom of the foot, "fascia" is a type of ligament, and "itis" is Latin for "inflammation".  Heel spurs are soft, flexible deposits of calcium that build up due to the tension and inflammation in the plantar fascia connection to the heel.  Heel spurs don't  cause pain.    The plantar fascia surrounds the muscles in the bottom of the foot. It helps support the arch of the foot by  connecting  the ball of the foot to the heel. When walking  the plantar fascia endures tension that is approximately two times body weight.   This moment of maximum tension  increases and sharpens with stiff calf muscles. An increase in body mass  causes the same  increase in tension in the fascia. Due to the repetitive nature of walking, plantar fasciitis could possible be a repetitive stress disorder (RSD).

Symptoms

Pain in the heel region that is more pronounced in the morning or after periods of rest.  The pain can be exaggerated with running, walking or repetitive use of the foot.  The pain associated with heel spurs isn't caused by the calcium deposits but by the inflamed plantar fascia. 

Causes

Heel spurs or plantar fasciaitis is generally caused by repetitive over pronation of the foot.  Over time this can stress the plantar fascia at its attachment to the heel resulting in  calcium deposits building up.

Treatment

Heel spur treatment usually involves methods to restore the arch of the foot. The inflammation can be treated with steroid injections for temporary relief of the pain.  Several methods can be used to restore the arch.  Night splints, orthopedic inserts and taping of the foot can help restore the arch.  Stretching the calf and foot to restore flexibility can also be beneficial.



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