Achilles is an important tendon which arises from the calf muscles and gets adhered to the posterior part of the heel bone. This tendon plays a vital role in stabilizing the ankle joint and also important for walking, especially as it helps in the movement of the feet.
An Achilles tendon bone spur can be caused due to overgrowth of bony tissue at the point of insertion of the Achilles tendon with the heel bone.
What Causes Achilles Tendon Bone Spur?
The primary reason for development of a bone spur is undue stress on the Achilles tendon which may be caused either due to strenuous activity or due to inappropriate footwear. This form of stress can result in irritation of the heel bone, which in turn can trigger an abnormal growth bony tissue at the site of irritation. Some experts believe that errors in the process of calcium metabolism can also lead to formation of bone spurs.
Formation of bone spurs on the Achilles tendon is more frequently observed in athletes who overuse the joint like runners, jumpers and football players.
Symptoms Of Bone Spur On Achilles Tendon
The common symptoms associated with Achilles tendon bone spur include the following,
- Severe pain which is aggravated on putting pressure on the affected feet while standing, walking, etc. Eventually the pain may be persistent in nature, but aggravated on motion.
- Swelling and edema may be observed at the site, primarily due to inflammation of the surrounding tissue and bursa.
- Limited mobility of the joint may also be observed, especially due to pain and swelling.
- Prolonged bone spur at the Achilles tendon may also be associated with wasting of the calf muscles, primarily caused due dystrophy resulting from non-usage.
Treatment For An Achilles Tendon Bone Spur
An X ray of the ankle joint can help to confirm the diagnosis of the bone spur on the heel bone close to the Achilles tendon. Occasionally blood tests may be performed to understand underlying pathology associated with calcium metabolism. The treatment regimen however doesn’t differ significantly and comprises of the following,
- Local application of ice pack can help alleviate the symptoms associated with inflammation and provide some relief for pain. Ice compress along with rest is important to hasten healing.
- Alteration of shoes so as to reduce strain on the ankle joint is important. Reduce strenuous activities in order to reduce tension on the heel bone.
- Consult a physical therapist. Simple exercises like flexion and extension of the ankle joint can help reduce the rigidity and aid in management of pain associated with bone spur. The effort is to reduce the wear and tear of the Achilles tendon.
- Homeopathic medicine like Bryonia, Rhuta and Rhus Tox taken in low potency repeated about four to five times in a day are considered useful. This helps alleviate the pain and reduces edema and inflammation.
- A calcium restricted diet may add value to the management; however you need to consult your physician before attempting any change in your diet.
In severe cases of bone spur, surgical intervention may be inevitable. Surgery may be required to remove the Achilles bone spur. In general recovery from the surgery may take up to three months, however resuming activities to normal levels may take about one year after surgery.