Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are a painful condition that develops when the bone of the heel has abnormal growth. If the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel bone, calcium deposits can form at the site of the injury. The plantar fascia is the band of fibrous tissue that runs from the heel to the front of the foot. The calcium deposits form a bony, hook-like protrusion of the heel bone.

Heel spurs are most commonly caused by over-pronation, flatfoot. It can also be caused by abnormally high arches, a condition called pes cavus. Women are more susceptible to developing heel spurs due to problem footwear. A medical history of plantar fasciitis increases a person’s risk for developing heel spurs. About seventy percent of the people with plantar fasciitis develop heel spurs. However, about fifty percent of the cases of heel spurs happen to people with no history of plantar fasciitis.

Diagnosis of heel spurs can be made with the use of an x-ray. The proper treatment begins with determining the cause of the overstretching of the plantar fascia. If it is caused by over-pronation, the physician may prescribe the use of orthotics to support the arch of the foot. Heel cradles and heel cups may be worn to provide extra cushioning for the heel.

Rest is recommended to allow the inflammation to resolve itself. Rest alleviates most of the pain associated with heel spurs. The doctor may suggest losing weight, regular exercise, and stretching. The physician may recommend the use of shoes that provide ample cushioning for the heel. During acute attacks of heel spurs, applying ice packs can help. Never apply ice or ice packs directly to the skin.

Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used for pain relief. The doctor may prescribe the use of night splints. Night splints are used to stretch the plantar fascia and heel during the night. With proper treatment, the pain from bone spurs usually subsides within three months.


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