What is heel spur?
A heel spur is a bony process appearing in the place of the plantar aponeurosis attachment, i.e. where the heel bone is connected to the plantar aponeurosis.
We distinguish between the lower and the upper spur:
- Lower spur – in the initial phase of the condition the patient feels pain under the heel during movement, most often just after waking up.
- Upper spur – pain appears around the Achilles tendon attachment
What is heel spur?
A heel spur is a bony process appearing in the place of the plantar aponeurosis attachment, i.e. where the heel bone is connected to the plantar aponeurosis. A spur is the body’s response to the existing inflammation. There is the upper spur and the lower spur, both caused by overloading, injuries and wearing uncomfortable footwear. People in the high-risk group include athletes (especially volleyball players, runners, tennis players) as well as obese and older people. Particularly overweight people are prone to develop spurs, as too much overload flattens the longitudinal arch of the foot, causing the heel bone aponeurosis to stretch. The result is inflammation that leads to the deposition of calcium at the site of the attachment, resulting in a spur on the calcaneus.
Heel spur symptoms
We distinguish between the lower and the upper spur – each of them manifests in a slightly different way:
- Lower spur – in the initial phase of the condition the patient feels pain under the heel during movement, most often just after waking up. After a while, the pain is reduced. In the advanced stage of the disease, the pain accompanies the patient all the time, not only when walking. The pain significantly limits the mobility of the heel area, hindering everyday functioning.
- Upper spur – pain appears around the Achilles tendon attachment. Repetitive microtraumas lead to inflammation that results in the appearance of the upper spur. This spur most often occurs in physically active people and in the elderly. A characteristic symptom of the upper spur is swelling of the heel and pain, which in the first phase of the disease is felt only when walking. Gradually the pain begins to accompany the patient without interruption, also during rest. Failure to treat upper spurs can lead to development of so-called Haglund deformity.
What does the treatment involve?
Disregarding pain makes no sense – the problem will not go away by itself. Domestic treatments for spurs, such as using cream or ointment, are equally ineffective – the tissues on the sole are 2 cm thick, which is why the cream is unable to penetrate it. It is necessary to consult a good orthopedist who suggests an effective therapy. In addition, the patient should be provided with comfortable low-heeled shoes with flexible, shock-absorbent soles. It is also recommended to purchase professional orthopedic insoles or gel heel pads designed for patients with heel spurs, which will reduce the pressure on the heel.
Treatment of heel spurs with Orthokine® therapy
In the first stage of treatment, the patient is given oral anti-inflammatory drugs for 3-6 months. The purpose of medication is to eliminate inflammation, but their action does not affect the reduction of the growth. The results of pharmacological treatment are usually poor and do not eliminate pain. Inefficient standard therapy can be continued by biological therapy, such as Orthokine®, which is used to treat lower and upper spurs and Haglund deformity. Orthokine® is a safe and effective method based on the results of many tests.
The Orthokine® therapy developed by German scientists is designed to reach the source of inflammation directly. This innovative healing method, which has been used since 1998, was described in many renowned scientific journals, which proves its extraordinary effectiveness in the treatment of heel spurs. Orthokine® therapy is used in a place affected by inflammation caused by degeneration of a joint. This method consists in injecting the patient with serum with protective proteins made from their own blood. Thanks to that, the mixture of autologous proteins does not contain any substances of foreign origin, making Orthokine® therapy completely safe and free from the risk of allergic reactions. As a result of the therapy, the balance is restored in the place affected by the inflammatory process – the inflammation is inhibited or completely stopped and the pain is alleviated or eliminated.
The successful Orthokine® therapy has been used for several years in 488 licensed facilities around the world, including Wasz Ortopeda orthopedic clinic in Szczecin. The effectiveness of the therapy has been proven by positive results of tests. Currently, over one million serum injections have been administered to patients all over the world.
What is Haglund’s deformity?
Haglund deformity, also called the Haglund’s heel, is a painful disease which most often results from chronic Achilles tendon inflammation that leads to the forming of calcifications on the heel. Haglund’s deformity manifests itself as a strong, pulsing pain in the heel that makes it difficult to put on shoes and walk. Haglund’s deformity is often confused with the upper spur, but the latter is only a single calcification, unlike the Haglund’s heel, which is characterized by several layers of calcification. Haglund’s deformity resembles an egg-sized swelling.
Causes of Haglund’s deformity
Haglund’s deformity is caused by calcifications due to chronic inflammation of the Achilles tendon. There are several reasons for the formation of Haglund’s heel:
- repetitive microdamage caused by daily loads,
- aging of bone and joint elements,
- foot, heel or shank dysfunction,
Considering the reasons for the occurrence of Haglund’s deformity the causes of Achilles tendon inflammation cannot be overlooked because it directly leads to the described disease.
Symptoms of Haglund’s deformity
The main symptom of the condition is severe pain in the heel, accompanied by swelling and damaged skin in a sore place. The problem should be consulted with a good orthopedist who will conduct physical examinations and make an X-ray for correct diagnosis. Note that heel pain is not always synonymous with Haglund’s deformity – in some cases you may have Achilles tendonitis, upper heel spur, or calcaneal fracture. If you feel pain characteristic of Haglund’s heel, do not underestimate it and as soon as possible see an orthopedist, who will make a diagnosis and start therapy.
Treatment of the upper heel spur
Haglund’s deformity is the consequence of untreated upper heel spur. To prevent the occurrence of this painful disease, start treatment when the upper spur appears. The most recommended therapy is multi-path treatment, involving the use of physiotherapy combined with appropriate preventive measures. The best effects of treatment are visible after shock wave therapy, whose effectiveness reaches 80%. The pain may subside after 2-3 treatments, and the inflammation is eliminated after 6-7 visits. With Haglund’s heel, additional therapy with a high-energy laser (15 W) is recommended, which can cope with large calcifications and accelerate tissue regeneration.
Treatment of the upper and lower heel spurs and Haglund’s deformity consists of breaking down of existing calcifications, elimination of pain and treatment of the Achilles tendon. The tendon is also subjected to shock wave therapy and high energy laser therapy. Chronic inflammation may also be treated by injection with platelet-rich plasma, which is obtained from the Patient’s blood, as well as dry needling therapy, which aims to loosen the tendon. Only professional orthopedic treatment can solve the troublesome problem of heel spurs. You will receive specialist help at Wasz Ortopeda orthopedic clinic, which is based in Szczecin. To prevent the recurrence of the disease, it is recommended to use heat-molded orthopedic insoles responsible for improving the distribution of foot pressure on the ground.