Heel spur (Lenoir spur)

Updated on 26 April 2023

Heel spur (Lenoir spur)

Heel pain can arise due to many factors. However, if you experienced localized throbbing, the heel bone is most likely the cause. A heel spur, also known as Lenoir’s spur, is a condition that often goes hand in hand with plantar fasciitis. What exactly is a heel spur? What are the most common heel spur symptoms? What are the best options for heel spur treatment? We explain it all in the following article.

What is heel spur pain?

A heel spur is a bony growth that forms at the junction where the heel bone attaches to the plantar fascia. This growth appears when the fascia (the membrane that supports the foot arch) is overstressed. It is your body’s reaction to compensating for tension in the arch of your foot. This natural adaptation can sometimes go unnoticed. However, when the tension becomes too strong, it causes pain in your heel. The pathology that appears is called Lenoir spur (heel spur).

Is heel spur pain common?

Heel spurs are a common problem for people who must stand or engage in exercises such as running or walking. 

Different causes of heel spur

There are many different causes of heel spur pain. However, some factors can exacerbate your heel spur symptoms. Jobs or activities requiring standing for extended periods can contribute to heel spur pain. In these situations, constant pressure is exerted on the foot. If these activities involve repeated impact, the shocks can lead to calcification of the fascia. Over time, the tension in this membrane can extend to the heel, creating painful sensations. The same is true for flat or hollow feet. To compensate for these arch deformities, the fascia exerts tension to which the heel bone responds. Unfortunately, these conditions are sometimes hereditary, which may increase your chances of developing a heel spur. 

In addition to extensive standing and heredity, trauma and injury also provide a breeding ground for heel spur development. Although this is a response of the body to increase tissue resistance, it creates an imbalance in the arch of your foot. Inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis or weight, can influence heel spur formation. Your shoes may also lead to heel spurs; ill-fitting and poorly adapted shoes, with soles that do not support the arch of the foot, increase the odds of being affected by this condition.   

Who is most at risk of being affected by heel spurs?

People who are very active or who are too sedentary and have a medical condition are more likely to suffer from a heel spur.  

Heel spur symptoms

Symptoms of heel spurs are sometimes difficult to detect. The growth alone can be completely painless. The pain that may begin to appear on the bottom of the foot is more often associated with plantar fasciitis. If pain is felt in the heel area, it may be mistaken for Achilles tendonitis or posterior tibial muscle. A heel spur causes intense pain in the heel when the foot is placed on the ground after a long period of rest or when standing for a long time. Patients report feeling a spike in the heel, and sometimes stiffness in the foot accompanies these sensations.

Diagnosis of heel spurs by chiropodists

To rule out other possible pathologies, it is necessary to use digital imaging. The heel spur is not a growth that can be felt with certainty by touch. The chiropodist will first assess the patient and palpate the foot. The heel, in these conditions, is often sensitive or even painful. The healthcare professional may also examine your gait and posture to verify the impact of the pain and the presence of biomechanical problems. X-rays confirm the diagnosis of heel spurs and guide the chiropodist to the most appropriate treatment. 

Chiropodists’ solutions for heel spur treatment

Depending on the stage of advancement and the discomfort the spur creates, several types of heel spur treatments may be prescribed. You can wear a protective pad if the heel is vulnerable to impact due to a reduction in its fatty layer (the fat under the skin). This relieves pressure on the heel. Foot orthotics act in the same way and allow a better distribution of weight on the foot structure. 

Finally, if it is a spur fracture or the previous treatments are ineffective, your chiropodist may suggest surgery as a last resort. It should be noted, however, that since the heel spur is generally a consequence of plantar fasciitis, treating the latter can reduce pain in the heel. Talk to your chiropodist about recommended treatments for plantar fasciitis and heel spur exercises.   

H3 – What is the recovery time?

Unless surgery is performed, the heel spur does not disappear. If surgery is performed to remove the spur, it will take about two months to heal completely. 

H3 – Are there any contraindications to the various treatments?

There is no contraindication to wearing orthotics to treat Lenoir spurs. Of course, the orthotics must be adapted to the patient; your chiropodist will ensure the best orthotics, thanks to the digital imaging results and initial evaluation. 

Ways to prevent heel spurs

Preventing heel spurs starts with maintaining a healthy weight. Feet that are active but not under excessive pressure are less likely to develop heel problems. Carrying foot flexibility and heel spur exercises can be beneficial even for sedentary people. Your posture when you sit impacts the entire musculoskeletal structure, including your feet. Rolling a ball under the foot, emphasizing tense areas, can help soften the fascia. Your chiropodist can also prescribe stretching exercises. Choosing comfortable shoes with a sole that correctly supports the foot’s arch is also a great way to prevent heel spurs.

Consult a chiropodist to verify the cause of your heel pain

If, despite preventative measures, the pain has already set in the heel, you can try to reduce it with a warm foot bath. It is also recommended to rest or limit activities that may cause pain. Book an appointment at a FootNetwork clinic today and put a stop to your heel pain.  

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