Bone spurs are due to extra growth of bone that exists for years without causing symptoms, but they can also rub on nearby tissues, muscles and nerves which can cause pain and swelling. A bone spur that develops near the Achilles tendon which is at the back of the ankle can trigger pain during movement. The bone spur can cause an additional strain on the Achilles tendon that will result to inflammation and irritation of the tendon. This can be treated with rest and surgery which depends on the severity of the condition.
What causes a bone spur?
It can be caused by placing significant stress on the Achilles tendon due to strenuous activity or it can be caused by wearing ill-fitting footwear. This stress causes irritation of the heel bone and result to formation of abnormal tissue growth at the irritated area. Athletes who overuse their joints such as runners, football players and jumpers are susceptible to this condition.
- Swelling and edema at the affected area due to inflammation of the surrounding bursa and tissue.
- Severe pain when placing pressure on the affected feet while standing and walking and eventually the pain becomes persistent.
- Due to pain and swelling, there is reduced movement of the joint.
- Long periods of bone spur at the Achilles tendon can be caused by wasting of the calf muscle due to dystrophy.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected area to lessen the inflammation and pain. Applying the cold compress and resting the affected area is needed for fast healing of the condition. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin to prevent frostbite. Wrap the ice pack in a thin towel or cloth before placing to the area.
- Compress the area or wrap it with a bandage and elevate the affected foot above the level of the heart.
- Take the prescribed anti-inflammatory medications to reduce severe swelling and pain such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Ibuprofen should be taken together with food to prevent stomach upset.
- Minimize engaging in strenuous activities to lessen the tension placed on the heel bone.
- Seek the help of a physical therapist of some simple exercises such as flexion and extension of the joint of the ankle to minimize the stiffness and manage pain caused by the bone spur. Perform gentle stretching regularly to keep the affected area flexible and less susceptible to injury. Remain active to lessen the amount of wear and tear caused on the heel and the Achilles tendon.
- Make adjustments on the footwear by placing extra padding on the shoes or using a heel cup to elevate the heel and changing the type of shoes to prevent overstraining of the Achilles tendon and the heel bone.
- Apply a warm compress using linseed oil on the affected area. This warm compress lessens the pain caused by bone spurs.