Foot spurs, or calcaneal enthesophytes, are bony growths that protrude below the heel caused by stress and inflammation from plantar fasciitis or a gait disorder. Foot spurs affect approximately 15% of people and can cause sharp pain in the heel, especially for runners and athletes who frequently jump or run on hard surfaces.
While pain caused by foot spurs is not necessarily common, it can be debilitating for those who experience it. The American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that only 5% of people with foot spurs experience pain. Still, many adults aged 50 and above describe the pain as “disabling” and can negatively affect physical and mental health.
Conservative non-surgical treatments such as rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, conditioning exercises, and running on softer surfaces may help, but more aggressive treatment may be necessary if the pain persists. Only after non-invasive methods continue to fail for a minimum of one year is the option of surgery considered.
Foot Spur Treatment with Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical and drug-free option for foot spur treatment. Shockwave therapy uses acoustic pressure waves to stimulate the body’s natural metabolism and blood circulation, accelerating healing. The best part is that it’s also fast, allowing runners and athletes to return to their activities quickly.
In a study by the University of Siena, researchers split sixty patients with foot spurs into two groups. The first group received shockwave therapy, while the second group received sham treatment. Using the visual analog scale to evaluate symptoms, x-rays to measure the spur, and sonography to measure inflammation, researchers noted “a significant decrease” in symptoms for the first group — with 30% of patients experiencing a reduction in spur size. Although there was no immediate reduction in inflammation, researchers observed “a significant reduction” one month later. In the second group, no such improvements were seen.
Shockwave therapy improves the symptoms of most patients with foot spur pain and can even modify the spur’s structure while reducing inflammation. Healthcare professionals can use shockwave therapy to treat foot spurs and other foot-related conditions, such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinopathy.
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