Calcaneal spur

A calcaneal spur. That’s what the ultrasound says that I have in my left foot.

According to Dr Google (well, really Netdoctor.co.uk), this is caused by an accumulation of inflammation of the Achilles tendon or the plantar fascia. It is caused by failing to warm up properly or from exercising heavily in the weekend after working in a sedentary job.

The symptoms make sense to me: sore feet and calves when I wake up in the morning, pain in the Achilles tendon area and occasional plantar fasciitis.

The question now is what to do about it. All the websites I’ve found on Dr Google say that I need shoes with more cushioning to protect the heel but I can’t run in padded shoes – they aggravate my shins and ITB. Perhaps my recent decision to focus on cycling for 2014 is a good one.

Other advice is to do stretching and strength exercises. This is something I’ve recently started doing using the Daily Workouts app and a stretching app. I’ve been doing 20-30 minutes of body weight exercises like crunches, squats and push ups 5-6 times a week. And I have been making a point of stretching for 20-30 minutes every night while watching television. So perhaps I’m doing all the right things already.

I hope to speak with my physio, Paul from Body Leadership Australia, in the coming days to see what he thinks. He knows me pretty well after looking after me for the past 16 months so I trust his advice.

Total: Rest day other than strength and flexibility.


7 comments on “Calcaneal spur

  1. Sorry to hear that – it sounds like something that will take a while to fix.

    It may sound counter-intuitive, but it might be worth reading up on barefoot running. The foot strength and flexibility exercises may be of benefit to you and if you’re able to gently transition into barefoot running (or at least using a barefoot/midfoot/forefoot technique) then it may be better for you in the long-term as it will remove the impact on the heel… that seems to be preferable to wearing increasingly cushioned shoes, which doesn’t sound like an option for you, anyway!

    Good luck!

    • Thanks for the tips. I was actually a barefoot runner before I started wearing Merrell Trail Gloves. They are totally minimalist with 0mm drop and 2-3mm sole. But I’ve long had excessively tight calves and believe this spur is very old (I’ve only just had test for first time despite years of issues).

      Am a bit fed up with the frustration so hoping to focus on cycling and stretching and strengthening for a while before I am ready to run.

      I switched to Merrells because we have lots of rocks so really difficult to go full barefoot here.

  2. Oh no. This is not good. I’m sorry you have to deal with foot pain, too. And actually, this sounds very similar to my pain. Either way, injuries suck.

    • I thought about your injury / pain when I was getting my scan yesterday. I guess the good thing is that now I know what’s been bothering me so I can make decisions that will allow me to manage it long-term. I’ve had PF a few times in the past and have very tight calves (which I am working on).

      My physio is fantastic and he called me last night for a chat. Dead set, he spent about 40 minutes on the phone giving me advice and tips, and actually considering what will and won’t work for me (e.g. he knows I won’t want to spend $100 on one of those special sleeping socks). So I am going to give running a miss for a little while until everything settles and will focus on cycling for a while. I hope to go see a running specialist to learn how to walk in a way that puts less pressure on my heels and might organise to get my bike fitted properly so that I don’t get overuse while riding. I am also now committed to stretching before exercise and at night, doing trigger pointing and using ice (and cold baths) to recover and settle my calves.

      Bottom line is that I’ve been an overly active person my whole life but never did anything to look after my body. I just kept pushing it to its limits and ignored niggles and injuries. I’m not more injured now … I am just more aware and less willing to push through injury pain because I don’t want to be limited in my physical activity when I am older.

      • I am right there with you! I never had to worry about injuries and pain, but now i want to make sure i can be active for a very long time. :-). I never had calf muscles (probably because i never ran?), so they are developing now after a long time of lack of use (grad school and the last 10 years). Sure i played a lot of softball, but that isn’t the same. 🙂
        I am back to running, and am going to borrow a boot from a friend! I sleep with compression socks, too.

  3. I have calcaneal spur in my left leg. Hurts, I am just training through it. Yes some days I feel like a very old man limping to the bathroom. But after walk, jog, then running all is good. I find the pain worst after riding hills on the fixie. I have found that by continuous training, I suffer less. If I go out and do a big day, it can be a little sore for a couple of days.
    Dry Needling of the Soleus, Gastros and mobilisation of the heal to be effective in reducing the discomfort.

    • Mine is also in my left leg. My biggest concern at the moment is that my calf / Achilles area (just below the big fat calf muscle but above the actual Achilles tendon) has been tender since 16 July without sign of improvement. So I think I need to settle it down before I start pushing myself too much. Last thing I want is a proper injury. At least I can still cycle without too much concern (though climbing on my MTB does hurt a bit). With the number of mountains I am expecting in Tassie, the next 2 months are about settling the calf down so that I don’t come a cropper in the middle of nowhere.

      I also feel like an old man first thing in the morning walking to the bathroom and then walking to the kitchen because we have three steps in our house.

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