Wondering what causes a calcaneal spur fracture and how can it be treated? Here’s some information on the common causes, symptoms and treatment of this type of spur fracture.
Did you recently notice a bony prominence at the back or the underside of your foot? Such a bony outgrowth is medically referred to as an osteophyte. Commonly known as bone spurs, these bony projections often develop at places where bones, ligaments or tendons meet each other. When these bone spurs develop along the edges of the heel bone, these are referred to as heel spurs. Since the heel bone is medically referred to as the calcaneus, these are also called as calcaneal spurs. Though the outer surface of the calcaneus is very tough, it is not immune to injuries. Overuse injuries or Calcaneal stress fractures are also not very uncommon. The heel bone can fracture due to a fall from a height or other high impact injuries. Since the heel bone carries the body weight while we stand, walk or run, this bone is under a lot of strain. At times, a calcaneal spur might also fracture due to accidental falls or injuries. In this article, we will look into the causes, symptoms and treatment of a calcaneal spur fracture.
Calcaneal Spur Fracture: Causes and Symptoms
Before I move on to the causes of a calcaneal spur fracture, let me tell you what causes calcaneal spurs. A heel spur is basically attributed to the anatomical changes in the heel bone. These are brought on due to strain of the supporting structures of the feet. One of the most common causes of calcaneal spur syndrome is a condition called plantar fasciitis. This condition is associated with the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a tough ligament that runs across the bottom of the foot. Many a times, it might get inflamed due to excessive strain on the feet. Many a times, the body responds to the inflammation by forming a plantar calcaneal spur. Formation of a spur is basically the body’s way of responding to the constant pulling on the bone attachment from a tendon or a ligament.
When the ligaments or tendons get inflamed, the body tries to repair the damage by forming an extra bone in the affected area. Since dancers, sprinters, rock climbers, roofers and obese people are more likely to suffer from repeated stress or pulling of plantar fascia, they are more susceptible to developing heel spurs. These bony projections can cause a lot of pain if they start pressing against the surrounding tissues. High impact injuries caused due to jumping and landing on the calcaneus can also cause a calcaneal spur fracture. Such a fracture can cause distressing symptoms, the most common of which is severe heel pain. Swelling, redness and bruising might also be seen at the affected part of the calcaneus. A person who has had a plantar calcaneal spur fracture is most likely to experience pain while standing, walking or running. Calcaneal fractures or a fractured heel spur generally affect a person ability to bear weight on the heel. The severity of the symptoms will depend on the impact as well as the position of the affected foot at the time of injury.
Calcaneal Spur Fracture: Treatment
Now that you have a basic idea about the causes of a calcaneal spur fracture, let’s move on to the treatment options. While you can follow certain self-care measures, it is always better to consult a doctor. Besides analyzing the symptoms and conducting a physical examination, doctors generally look at the X-ray to see the extent of the damage. It’s important to determine if it’s the heel spur that has fractured or one has suffered from a calcaneal bone fracture. If the X-ray reveals a fractured calcaneal spur, doctors might recommend surgery as a part of the calcaneal fracture treatment. After undergoing surgery, patient will need to take all possible precautions to speed up the calcaneal fracture recovery process. Under no circumstances, should the patient put weight on the fractured foot. If the X-ray reveals just a broken heel spur, doctors might adhere to the RICE approach. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. The patient must take ample rest and refrain from any strenuous physical activity that causes stress to the heel bone. Application of ice packs and compression bandages will also help in reducing the swelling. Keeping the affected leg elevated while sleeping or sitting will also help. One must use crutches and avoid putting weight on the affected foot. Anti-inflammatory drugs are also prescribed for reducing the heel pain. If the injury is severe and this approach doesn’t work well, doctors might recommend heel spur surgery. Once the patient has recovered considerably, he/she can also perform heel spur exercises to strengthen the heel bone. Wearing shoes with proper arch support or orthotic devices will also prove beneficial and reduce the strain on the arch.
This was all about the causes, symptoms and treatment of a calcaneal spur fracture. Since calcaneal bone bears the weight of the body, any injury to this bone must be taken seriously. If you are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, consult a doctor soon.