Heel spur (Lenoir’s thorn)

Updated on 21 June 2024

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When you place your foot on the ground, do you feel discomfort beneath your heel?

Seeing as calcification under the calcaneus is quite common, Lenoir’s thorn might be the disease that affects you.

The heel spur, known as Lenoir’s thorn, is a bony protrusion on the inside of your heel. This anatomical structure can be seen by X-ray.

People with this condition frequently experience pain in their heels while taking their first steps in the morning or after sitting for a long period. They may also notice a painful spot in their heel, such as a spur.

Imaging is usually used to detect this structure. It is very difficult to feel by touch.

Let’s take a look at what makes heel spurs develop, as well as the therapies that can help you get rid of the discomfort they produce.

What are the symptoms of heel spur?

Heel spurs usually do not cause any symptoms.

When walking or standing for lengthy periods of time, the majority of persons with this condition do not experience any discomfort in their heels.

It’s actually a technique for your body to strengthen the plantar fascia’s connection and avoid discomfort under your heel from forming. It’s also an indication that your plantar fascia is working overtime to keep your plantar arch intact.

In fact, one might argue that the heel spur is good for your foot since it strengthens it.

The real issue is the stress your plantar fascia creates on your heel, as well as the resulting inflammation. This condition is called plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis and Lenoir’s thorn

Inflammation of the fascia in the form of plantar fasciitis is one of the deciding variables in the development of a heel spur.

The most important distinction between plantar fasciitis and heel spurs is that the former is frequently the cause of the latter.

The fibrous band that is the victim of inflammation drives the foot to compensate as a result of microtrauma. This causes calcification, which manifests itself as a thorny growth.

Although only surgery can remove the spur, plantar fasciitis can be treated to alleviate the pain it causes.

What causes a heel spur

Even though Lenoir’s thorn is frequently associated with plantar fasciitis, it is still a complicated condition.

A wide range of predisposing variables can thus promote its appearance:

  • Heredity: If other members of your family suffer from the same disease, you are likely to get it as well.
  • Your line of work: If you have to walk, lift, or stand a lot, your feet will be under a lot of stress, putting extra strain on your plantar fascia. In the long term, this may be a problem. The fascia then pulls on the region where your heel spur is formed, causing it to grow.
  • Excess weight: Overweight persons are more likely to acquire this type of pathology.
  • Your foot type: If you have a cavus foot with a tight plantar fascia, the heel bone will be more tense. Meanwhile, when your flat foot droops, it puts a lot of strain on the fascia, which is the primary component that keeps your foot from falling entirely on the ground.
  • Physical activities: Jogging, for example, increases the impact your foot has to absorb on the ground by three to five times, as opposed to walking. Again, your body may strengthen your fascia through calcification in order for you to continue your activities.
  • Trauma: Your fascia may have calcified as a result of trauma (for example, when your heel hits the ground), which is a significant cause.
  • Arthritis: Be warned that some kinds of arthritis can lead to the formation of big, uneven spurs. These spurs are more likely than typical heel spurs to produce soreness under your heel. The calcification of the Achilles tendon insertion is common in those who have them.
  • The type of shoes: Shoes that are ill-fitting, excessively soft, or lack absorbency should be avoided. Wearing them increases the chance of getting a heel spur by putting additional strain on your fascia.
  • Walking without shoes: Avoid walking barefoot if at all possible. Your plantar fascia is put under a lot of stress as a result of this.

How to prevent heel spurs

Aside from the advice below, there is only so much you can do in terms of prevention:

  • Shoes: Always wear good, sturdy, well-cushioned shoes.
  • Exercise: If you’re experiencing symptoms, stay away from activities that have a lot of impact or entail leaping.
  • Weight: Maintain a healthy weight by keeping track of your measurements.

If you’re having trouble with your heels on a regular basis, see a podiatrist for a comprehensive preventative assessment.

Pay heed to your body’s messages as well – it is your best ally.

Medical treatments for heel spurs

Treatment of the spur is not usually required.

In reality, you will not suffer any inflammatory discomfort as long as your plantar fascia is not injured.

However, if your heel spur causes you discomfort, you have a few options.

  • X-ray: Look for a spur fracture first. If it is the case, but not too displaced, immobilisation is required.
  • Wearing a heel pad: This option will help you if there is a spur associated with fat atrophy (reduction of the fat pad).
  • Foot orthoses: If you have arthritis, your podiatrist will need to rule out the possibility of a dystrophic spur. It is for this reason that orthotics are required.
  • Surgery: if it is impossible to relieve your pain, surgery may be considered to remove part of the spur. However, because it has negative effects on your biomechanics, this is a last resort treatment.

Other types of heel pain

Plantar fasciitis (fascia inflammation), which accounts for 80% of all heel discomfort, is quite common and severely restricts your activities. Alternative disorders, on the other hand, can also induce heel pain:

  • Baxter’s neuritis: pain experienced when the calcaneal nerve is compressed and can cause aches in the heel area.
  • Achilles tendonitis: pain felt more behind the heel.
  • Tendonitis of the posterior tibial muscle: symptoms mostly located in front of the heel, going up towards the inside of your ankle.

FootNetwork – Learn more

Do you have any more questions concerning plantar fasciitis or heel spurs? We publish articles on the subject on a regular basis!

Despite the fact that the FootNetwork site has a plethora of information on various foot problems, it does not substitute a visit to a podiatrist.

Take care of your feet, they’re precious!

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