What Are The Causes of Calcaneal Spur?

Calcaneal spur (also known as heel spur) is a common problem, which is appearance of small bone spur/projection in the calcaneus or heel bone. Most of the cases of calcaneal spur are asymptomatic and usually detected during x-ray for other causes. The most common symptom of heel spur is pain in the heel. Heel spur is commonly associated with plantar fasciitis (a painful inflammatory condition of plantar fascia, which is a band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects heel bone with other bones of the foot).

What causes calcaneal spur or heel spur?

Calcaneal spur occurs when there is deposition of calcium in the underside of the heel bone (calcaneus), which can take months to years. Commonly calcium deposition occurs in the underside of heel bone, because of repeated sprain of the muscles and ligaments of the foot (including plantar fasciitis), tearing of the covering of the heel bon hence, calcaneal spur is common among athletes, who are involved in running and jumping. Constant stress/irritation of heel bone is required for eel spur to occur. Obese people are also at greater risk of heel spur as, due to excess weight their heel bone is constantly stressed/irritated.

What are the risk factors of calcaneal or heel spur?

  • Regular running or jogging or exercise on hard surface, especially with ill fitted shoes, worn shoes and shoes with inappropriate foot arch. Shoes with hard sole also pose greater risk of heel spur.
  • Obesity or excess body weight, which puts constant pressure and stress on the heel bone and fibrous tissue of foot, leading to repeated irritation/sprain and calcium deposit.
  • Wrong gait put constant pressure on the heel bone, nerves, ligaments and fasciae of the foot and lead to heel spur.
  • Individuals with flat feet are at greater risk of developing calcaneal spur.
  • Individuals with diabetes.
  • Sort and sudden burst of exercise of physical activity may lead to heel spur.
  • Individuals who require to stand long hours daily for professional work are at risk of developing help spur.

Symptoms of calcaneal spur or heel spur:

  • Most of the individuals with calcaneal spur do not have any symptom and diagnosed during x-ray for other reason.
  • Pain in the heel is the most common and presenting symptom of calcaneal spur. Pain can be chronic or intermittent (i.e. during walking, running or jogging), when there is pressure on the heel. Pain may be absent at rest or in lying down position, when heel is not under pressure. As, inflammation of plantar fascia commonly accompanies heel spur pain is due to inflammation of soft tissue and not due to presence of the heel spur.
  • The pain may be sharp and pin prick like pain during morning, which become dull as the day progress.


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