Heel Spurs (cont.)

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How are heel spurs and plantar fasciitis treated?

Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are treated by measures that decrease the associated inflammation and avoid reinjury. Local ice applications both reduce pain and inflammation. Physical therapy methods, including stretching exercises, are used to treat and prevent plantar fasciitis. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or injections of cortisone, are often helpful.

Orthotic devices or shoe inserts are used to take pressure off plantar spurs (donut-shaped insert), and heel lifts can reduce stress on the Achilles tendon to relieve painful spurs at the back of the heel. Similarly, sports running shoes with soft, cushioned soles can be helpful in reducing irritation of inflamed tissues from both plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Infrequently, surgery is performed on chronically inflamed spurs.

What is the prognosis (outlook) of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis?

The outlook is generally good. The inflammation usually responds to conservative, nonsurgical treatments. Infrequently, surgical intervention is necessary.

Can heel spurs and plantar fasciitis be prevented?

Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can only be prevented by treating any underlying associated inflammatory disease.

Previous contributing editor: Dennis Lee, MD

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.


Last Editorial Review: 7/24/2012


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