Calcaneal enthesophytes, or foot spurs, are bony growths that poke out below the back of the heel, often caused by the stress and inflammation from plantar fasciitis. In response to the repetitive stress, the body builds extra bone tissue. The condition can also develop from repeatedly tearing the covering that lines the heel bone or from a gait disorder.
Foot spurs affect approximately 15 per cent of people and the most common presentation is a sharp pain in the heel. Runners and athletes whose activities include a lot of jumping often get foot spurs. Running on hard surfaces like pavement and sidewalks is a common risk factor.
However, while foot spurs are fairly common, pain is not. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates that only 5 per cent of people with foot spurs experience pain. Nonetheless, for those who do experience pain, it can be significant. A 2019 study examining adults aged fifty and older with foot spurs, found a large portion described the pain as “disabling,” impacting physical and mental health.
Foot Spur Treatment With Shockwave Therapy
Conservative non-surgical treatments for foot spurs include rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, and conditioning exercises. Runners can try running on soft surfaces like grass or turf, but if pain persists rest will be necessary. Other modalities include orthotics, night splints, and cortisone injections.
Surgery is usually only considered if non-invasive aren’t successful after a year.
Foot spur treatment with shockwave therapy is a non-surgical, drug-free option. Shockwave therapy delivers acoustic pressure waves to the affected area, accelerating the healing process by stimulating the body’s natural metabolism and blood circulation. Further, it is fast, meaning runners and athletes can get back to activities sooner.
To test the effectiveness of shockwave therapy on foot spurs, researchers from the University of Siena split sixty patients into two groups. Group one received shockwave therapy while group two received sham treatment. Researchers used the visual analogue scale to evaluate symptoms, x-ray to measure the spur, and sonography to measure inflammation.
Researchers noted “a significant decrease” in symptoms for group one as well as a reduction in the size of the spur for 30 per cent of patients. And while they didn’t see a reduction in inflammation immediately following treatment, they did note “a significant reduction” one month later. No such improvements were seen in group two.
The study concluded that shockwave therapy improves the symptoms of most patients with foot spur pain and can structurally modify the spur itself while reducing inflammation.
Upgrade Your Practice
Shockwave therapy can be used by all healthcare professionals and can also treat plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, and other foot-related conditions. Shockwave Canada is the exclusive distributor of industry-leading Storz devices in the country. And our experienced practitioners will support you with 24/7 support.
To learn more call 1 (888) 741-SHOC(7462) or visit our website.