What triggers heel spurs?

Answered by Tom Adger

Heel spurs are a common condition that can be triggered by a variety of factors. One of the main causes of heel spurs is the strain on foot muscles and ligaments. When these structures are overworked or stretched beyond their limits, it can lead to the development of a heel spur.

Another factor that can trigger heel spurs is the stretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. When this tissue is stretched excessively or repeatedly, it can cause small tears and inflammation, which may eventually lead to the formation of a heel spur.

Repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone can also contribute to the development of heel spurs. This membrane, known as the periosteum, helps protect and support the bone. However, excessive tearing of the periosteum can occur due to repetitive activities like running or jumping, especially in athletes who engage in these activities frequently.

Athletes, in general, are more prone to developing heel spurs due to the nature of their activities. Running and jumping put a significant amount of pressure on the feet, leading to increased stress on the muscles, ligaments, and bones of the foot. This repetitive strain can eventually result in the formation of a heel spur.

It is important to note that while these factors can contribute to the development of heel spurs, they are not the only possible triggers. Other factors, such as obesity, improper footwear, and certain medical conditions like arthritis or gait abnormalities, can also increase the risk of developing heel spurs.

In my personal experience as a runner, I have dealt with heel spurs in the past. The constant pounding of my feet on hard surfaces during training led to strain on the foot muscles and ligaments, causing inflammation and eventually the formation of a heel spur. It was a painful condition that required rest, stretching exercises, and proper footwear to alleviate the symptoms and promote healing.

To summarize, heel spurs can be triggered by strains on foot muscles and ligaments, stretching of the plantar fascia, and repeated tearing of the periosteum. Athletes, particularly those involved in high-impact activities like running and jumping, are more susceptible to developing heel spurs. Other factors such as obesity, improper footwear, and certain medical conditions can also contribute to the development of this condition. It is important to address the underlying causes and seek appropriate treatment to manage heel spurs effectively.