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Friday, August 29, 2014

What is Discitis?

 

A Spinal Disc is our natural "cushion" or "shock absorber" between the Vertebrae. Discitis is a bacterial infection of the Spinal Disc.

Why do Discs get infected?

The spinal disc is a structure with very little blood supply. Most of the blood vessels are found on the outer layer of the disc (annulus fibrosus), but rarely deeper than that. The core of the disc (nucleus pulposus) usually does not have blood vessels at all. It is the largest such space in the human body without any blood vessels. This can lead to problems such as infection. Normally, blood vessels are useful in preventing or treating infections. The body uses blood vessels to send cells to treat or prevent infection. In the case of the spinal disc, not enough blood vessels are present to carry out this function. If bacteria enter the disc, they can often multiply and become a serious infection.

Who is at risk to develop Discitis?

The following are some risk factors to get discitis
  1. Diabetic patients with poor control
  2. Patients who had a disc injection (discogram)
  3. Patients who had disc surgery
  4. Patients who have an infected vertebrae
  5. Patients who have depression of their immune system
  6. Patients who have an infection of the spine from recent spine surgery
  7. Children under the age of 8. Some children get discitis for no particular reason other than perhaps having an immature immune system.
  8. Patients with a severe urinary tract infection (UTI) or respiratory infection.

What are some of the common symptoms of Discitis?

Patients often experience severe low-back pain and are often quite debilitated. Any activity involving the low-back can cause severe pain and spasticity.
Small children may refuse to walk or arch their backs. Here are some additional symptoms:
  1. Severe low-back pain
  2. Headaches
  3. Low-back Spasms
  4. Fevers, chills
  5. Sweating, especially night sweats
  6. Fatigue (malaise)
  7. Lack of appetite (anorexia)

 

How do Spine Specialists diagnose Discitis?

Spine specialists use information from the patient’s history, physical examination and special spine tests to make a diagnosis:
  1. History
A history of having severe low-back pain, fevers, chills and sweats is suggestive of discitis. Having an infection in another part of the body or recent spine surgery can make it more likely to have this diagnosis.

       2.
Physical Examination

Patients with discitis may appear ill in the later stage of the disease but may appear otherwise normal early on. Pain with pressure on the spine can be very severe, more so than one would expect compared to other spine conditions. Patients may also refuse to move and prefer to lie down to rest their spine. The vital signs may show a rapid pulse, fast breathing, as well as the presence of a fever.
Here are some of the examination points:
  1. Palpation (touch and pressure) of the spine
  2. Range of motion (mobility)
  3. Sensation testing in the legs
  4. Strength testing of the leg muscles (motor)
  5. Reflex testing of the legs
  6. Gait testing
  7. Kernig’s test
  8. Valsalva test
  9. Babinski sign
      3.
Imaging

Spine images can often help make the diagnosis of a lumbar discitis.

a. X-Rays
Plain X-Rays may be normal unless the infection involves a vertebra next to the disc and begins a destructive process. Sometimes a small amount of air can be seen in the space occupied by the disc which could suggest infection.

b. MRI Scans


Sagittal Lumbar Color MRI Discitis
Color MRI of the Low Back (Lumbar Spine) showing Discitis (red arrow)

MRI scans with intravenous contrast (dye) are usually the study of choice. The disc will often change color and show swelling around it. If the infection has spread to the vertebrae, this can also be verified by the MRI scan. Sometimes an abscess (collection of bacteria) in a space next to the disc can be seen as well (epidural abscess).

c. CT scans
CT scans are not very good at showing the disc itself, but like plain X-Rays can show signs suggesting infection. They can show if the bone of the vertebrae next to the disc is infected.

d. Nuclear Bone scans
Bone scans can show discitis in a very obvious way, but are not typically the study of choice, since the details of the spinal anatomy cannot be seen clearly.

e. Biopsy
A biopsy of the disc can confirm the diagnosis and find the organism (bacteria). However this is not routinely done to avoid spreading the infection at the time of the needle placement or removal.

What is the treatment of Discitis?

  1. Non-Surgical
A. Antibiotics
The primary treatment of discitis is the use of intravenous antibiotics. Potent antibiotics are often given for long periods of time (up to 6 weeks or more).
B. Activity Restrictions
The patient’s overall activity is often restricted. However, some movement and frequent movement may have some benefit to allow the antibiotic to be more available to the disc. Here are some more non-surgical treatment options:
C. Medications
  1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
  2. Muscle Relaxants
  3. Pain Killers
  4. Nerve Pain Medications
  5. Antidepressants
D. Brace
A brace may help by adding stability to the spine and limit the painful motion at the infected segment of the spine.
E. Physical Therapy (PT)
PT can help keep the patient as mobile as possible to avoid loss of muscle mass. It may also be helpful to mobilize a patient.

      2.
Surgical Care
Surgery is rarely needed for Discitis. Exceptions are the presence of a severe involvement of the vertebrae next to the disc (osteomyelitis), potentially causing them to collapse. In this case the vertebrae may have to be partially removed and a metal cage inserted. This is called a Lumbar Vertebrectomy/Corpectomy.



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The Content of this Blog Including text and images are Copyright Medical Media Images

General Disclaimer

Medical Media Images does NOT dispense medical or legal advice. Our images, text and any content cannot be used for diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition. All Images and content are for information purposes only. You must consult with your physician if you need medical advice. Medical Media Images is not a substitute for medical advice.

What is Scheuermann's Disease?

This disease was first observed by the Danish physician, Holger Scheuermann. He was an Orthopaedic Surgeon and Radiologist in the early 1900’s. The disease is a childhood disorder of the development of the mid-back (thoracic spine). The vertebrae grow unevenly and become "wedge shaped" rather than square. The reason is that the front of the vertebral body grows slower than the back. This results in the characteristic "wedge" or "pie" shaped vertebral bodies. The wedge shaped vertebrae cause a forward curvature of the mid-back) thoracic spine, called a “kyphosis”.
The most affected vertebrae are T7 and T10. Males are more commonly affected than females.

At what age does Scheuermann’s Disease start?

This disease often becomes apparent in the early teens. It can progress until the bones of the spine are fully grown. During that time, the disease can progress and a hunched mid-back appears. The patient cannot straighten the spine completely. This disease stops to progress once our bones have stopped growing.

What are the symptoms of Scheuermann’s Disease?

Here are some common symptoms of Scheuermann’s disease:
  1. Pain over the mid or low back
  2. Pain over the spine worse with weight bearing
  3. Pain over the spine with prolonged standing or sitting
  4. Forward curvature of the mid-back

How is Scheuermann’s Disease diagnosed?

  1. The diagnosis of Scheuermann’s disease is primarily made with X-Rays: The normal spinal curvature in the mid-back is 20-50 degrees forward. A curvature of more than 50 degrees with 5 wedged vertebrae in a row is diagnosed as Scheuermann’s disease.
Lateral Color X-Ray of Scheuermann's Disease Thoracic Spine
Color X-Ray showing a normal mid-back curvature on the left and abnormal Scheuermann's curvature on right
 
      2. A CT Scan can show more details of Scheuermann's Ds, but is typically not needed.


Color Sagittal Thoracic CT Scan Scheuermann's Disease
Color CT Scan showing Scheuermann's Disease


      3. MRI scans can also show Scheuermann’s disease, but may not be  necessary.

How is Scheuermann’s Disease treated?

Here are some of the common treatments of Scheuermann’s Disease:
  1. Non-Surgical
A. Medications
  1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
  2. Muscle Relaxants
  3. Pain Killers
B. Bracing

During the teenage years a specific brace (Milwaukee Brace) can be used to treat the curvature in the spine.

C. Exercises
Strengthening and hamstring exercises can be helpful.

D. Physical Therapy (PT)
PT can offer spine exercises, manual therapy, electrical muscle stimulation, aquatics, amongst others to help treat the symptoms of this disease.

E. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy can help with the muscle pain from the abnormal spine curvature.

F. Injections
Some spine injections can help with the symptoms from this disease:
1. Trigger Point Injections
2. Muscle Blocks
3. Thoracic Interlaminar Epidural Steroid Injections

G. Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic adjustments may help with some of the symptoms of patients with Scheuermann’s Disease  


2. Surgical

Surgery can be used to treat severe cases of Scheuermann’s disease. most commonly in the form of a Thoracic Osteotomy and Fusion. This surgery attempts to make the Vertebrae square shaped by removing bone from the back of the Vertebra. Following that, the Spine is fused to keep in the new, straighter form.



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The Content of this Blog Including text and images are Copyright Medical Media Images

General Disclaimer

Medical Media Images does NOT dispense medical or legal advice. Our images, text and any content cannot be used for diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition. All Images and content are for information purposes only. You must consult with your physician if you need medical advice. Medical Media Images is not a substitute for medical advice.

 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What is a Vertebral Compression Fracture?


A Vertebral Compression Fracture (VCF) is a collapse of a vertebra in the spine. Typically, the main body of the vertebra collapses, rather than other, smaller parts of a vertebra. Since the collapse of the vertebra is in the front portion of the vertebra, the spine often begins to curve forward.

Why do patients get a Vertebral Compression Fracture?
VCF’s are caused by too much pressure on the front of the vertebrae, which is the vertebral body. This happens when the spine is bent forward (flexed) too far, or too much weight is placed on the spine. This  causes the vertebral body to collapse in a wedge or "pie" shape (smaller in front than back).
Less common is a burst fracture, where the vertebrae breaks off into pieces, some of which could cause compression of the spinal cord or spinal nerves. While osteoporosis (bone thinning) related VCF’s are the most common, they can also occur due to trauma or bone cancer.
Here are some of the common causes of Vertebral Compression Fractures:
1.     Motor Vehicle Accidents
2.     Sports Accidents
                         3.   Osteoporosis or Spine Cancer related, caused by:
                   a. A strong cough or sneeze
                   b. Bending forward
                   c. Lifting something heavier
                   d. Fall

How common are Vertebral Compression Fractures (VCF)?
It is estimated that 700,000 VCF’s occur each year in the U.S.. Studies have shown that up to 15% of women and 5-9% of men will have a VCF in their life time. 40% of women over the age of 80 will have a VCF. After having a VCF, the risk of having another one is 20% in the first year in women after menopause. 
Where in the spine do Vertebral Compression Fractures usually occur?
VCF’s most commonly occur in the mid-back (thoracic spine), and low-back (lumbar spine).The most common spinal levels affected are T7, T8, T12 and L1.
How long do Vertebral Compression Fractures take to heal?
This depends on the reason for the fracture. Fractures related to trauma and osteoporosis tend to heal within 6-8 weeks. Fractures related to cancer may not heal completely.
What are the common symptoms from a Vertebral Compression Fracture?
VCF’s may not cause symptoms. Here are some common symptoms for the ones which do:
1.     Sudden spine pain in the middle of the spine
2.     Pain in the spine worsened when bending forward or down
3.     Worsened pain with standing, sitting or walking, improved when lying down.
4.     Muscle spasms on the sides of the spine
5.     Developing a “hump” in the back over time
6.     Loss of body height over time
7.     Pain spreading up and down the spine
8.     Pain, numbness and weakness in the legs (burst fractures)

How are Vertebral Compression Fractures diagnosed?
It is estimated that only 1/3rd of VCF’s are diagnosed. Part of the reason is that many VCF’s can cause very little or no pain at all.
1.     History
A history of a sudden onset of back pain especially in patient with known or suspected Osteoporosis can be a tip off for a VCF.
            2. Physical Examination
Here are some examinations the doctor may perform to help diagnose a VCF:
a. Inspection of the spine looking for a “humpback” deformity
b. Pushing and touching the spine (palpation) looking for pain, swelling and deformity
c. Mobility testing (range of motion)
d. Sensory (sensation) testing in the legs
e. Muscle strength (motor) testing in the legs
f. Reflex testing in the legs 
          3. Imaging Tests
a. X-Ray

X-Rays of the spine can show the common “wedge fractures” seen in VCFs. Here is a Color X-Ray showing a mid-back (thoracic) VCF. This Image is Interactive. Just move your mouse cursor over the Image to learn more (if the interactive tags do not load properly due to low browser speeds just refresh the page).          
 
lateral color x-ray thoracic compression fracture, VCF
Interactive Color X-Ray of a Compression Fracture in the mid-back (thoracic spine)

b. CT Scan
CT Scans can show more details of a VCF and its potential impact on other structures. However, 
the radiation does from CT scans high. Here is a Color CT Scan which is also Interactive.          


Sagittal Color CT thoracic compression fracture
Interactive Color CT Scan showing a mid-back (thoracic) compression fracture
c. MRI Scans
MRI scans can show compression fractures. While MRI technology is not as good as a CT scan to show specific details of the vertebral bones, it is an excellent tool to see swelling inside a vertebrae from a VCF, and a potential compression of the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Here is a color MRI of a mid-back (thoracic) VCF:


Sagittal Color MRI thoracic compression fracture, VCF
Interactive Color MRI of a mid-back (thoracic spine) Compression Fracture

d. Nuclear Bone Scans
Nuclear bone scans show the activity in a VCF which is created by the body’s attempt to heal it. It can be very specific for a VCF and show where in the spine it is located. However it cannot show any details about the fracture or the other structures which could be affected by it.

How are Compression Fractures treated?

1.     Non-Surgical Treatments
Here are some common non-surgical treatments available:
A. Alternative Health Care
Alternative health options can complement traditional medicine. Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Meditation exercises and Herbal Remedies can all help with the pain from compression fractures.
B. Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care in the form of manipulation is generally not advisable for a compression fracture of the spine.
C. Spine Exercises
Spine exercises are generally not recommended for a recent compression fracture. Once the fracture is healed, gentle spine exercises can help with some of the residual muscle pain.
D. Activity Restriction
Typically it is recommended to limit bending, twisting, lifting, and any other higher impact activity such as running.
E. Physical Therapy (PT)
Some gentle PT interventions such as Ultrasound Treatments can alleviate some of the muscle pain from a VCF. PT can help mobilize patients who are suffering from the pain related to a VCF.
F. Self Help Devices
Back Braces can help with the pain from the fracture and provide some stability while the fracture heals. A spine surgeon can recommend the proper brace if it is advisable.
G. Medications
Here are some of medications which can help relieve pain from VCFs.
1.     Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
2.     Muscle Relaxants
3.     Pain Killers
H. Injections
Here are some Injections which can help the pain from VCFs:
1.     Trigger Point Injections
2.     Muscle Blocks
3.     Interlaminar Epidural Steroid Injections

I. Minimally Invasive Treatments
Minimally invasive treatment options such as a Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty can help with the pain and instability of the vertebra from VCF’s. Here is a Color MRI of a Kyphoplasty. This Image is Interactive.


Sagittal Color MRI Kyphoplasty Lumbar
Interactive Color MRI of a Kyphoplasty Procedure
Here is another Color MRI which shows how a VCF can be restored. Notice how the balloon lifts the fracture:


Sagittal Color MRI Vertebral Compression Fracture Kyphoplasty
Color MRI showing how a VCF is restored by Kyphoplasty


             2. Surgical Treatments
Surgical treatments for VCFs are generally only recommended for those resulting from trauma or cancer. An exception would be a complicated VCF related to Osteoporosis (burst fracture) which is creating pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves.
Here are some surgeries which can be done for complicated or unstable VCFs:
Thoracic Vertebrectomy
Thoracic Laminectomy and Fusion
Thoracic Fusion with Instrumentation

 


 

Color X-Ray, Color MRI Images and Text like the ones featured in this Blog are available for Licensing for Websites and Publications at www.medicalmediaimages.com. You can also find these and hundreds of other Images on the Navigation Bar at the top of the Blog.

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The Content of this Blog Including text and images are Copyright Medical Media Images

General Disclaimer

Medical Media Images does NOT dispense medical or legal advice. Our images, text and any content cannot be used for diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition. All Images and content are for information purposes only. You must consult with your physician if you need medical advice. Medical Media Images is not a substitute for medical advice.
 

ISIS makes fatal mistake by executing an American Journalist

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or "ISIS" made what will prove to be a fatal mistake by publicly executing James Foley, a U.S. journalist captured in Syria in 2012.


ISIS's claim to have established a caliphate, or radical Islamic State, may have seemed laughable at first. However, having claimed large swathe of Syrian and Iraqi territory made it somewhat believable. Clad in menacing looking black robes, flying pirate like black flags and marching in two by two formations through captured villages, made for good photo ops and propaganda, important recruiting tools for a terrorist organization in need of young blood.

Depleting banks in Mosul of billions of Dollars in cash has given ISIS the unusual capability to purchase influence and weapons. ISIS has de facto become an employer to large numbers of Iraqi and Syrian villagers by providing paid jobs and subsidizing businesses. This is a far more dangerous success than any weapon on the battlefield can currently provide. However, the access to large quantities of cash will also provide access to far more sophisticated weapons like surface to air missiles, aircraft and dirty bombs.

Much of ISIS's early success came by flying under the International Media Radar and therefore out of the public eye. This changed when ISIS captured Mosul and made quick gains toward Baghdad. However, the Media attention waned again until ISIS began to persecute and displace Christians and Yazidis in an aggressive effort to cleanse their self declared Caliphate of non-Muslims. By putting the Yazidi cause front and center before the public, the Media eventually forced a more than reluctant Administration into a very limited military role. While President Obama seems to declare success and victory at the first sign of any positive developments against ISIS, the reality is that until now it has been too little and seemingly too late.


In comes the gruesome, public execution of James Foley, a journalist who's only fault was his nationality. This is a classic example of acting on rage, without understanding the consequences and more importantly, your enemy. While the U.S. has a long and bloody history of misunderstand other cultures, the beheading of James Foley is a glaring example that this is also the case with ISIS. Taking on the U.S. Government will only yield action if it is in the geo-economic-political interest of the Administration. The main exception to this general rule are situations where the mounting pressure of public opinion and general outrage forces the hand into action. Inaction in this situation can be costly in terms of reelection votes, the most treasured of all commodities.

So, what was ISIS's fatal mistake? Taking on the International Media. From here on out, the Media will keep ISIS in the headlines. Any atrocity committed by ISIS which may have received little attention in the past, will now be broadcast in detail. Journalists will go to great length to write compelling stories mixed with graphic Images to bring ISIS to our living rooms. ISIS will no longer fly under the radar. An Administration who would love nothing more than living out its current term without any further conflicts, will be forced into a broader, more sustained multi-national effort to contain ISIS.

ISIS was far more dangerous before they attacked religious minorities. They had cash, military success, captured territory, and a growing following of local and international recruits. With time, they could have consolidated their territory, created an organized, very well equipped army and controlled precious resources.

James Foley's tragic and cruel death may have saved the live of many others. ISIS was on its way to hold us all hostage. Now, the media coverage will not stop until ISIS is contained. While it may take many months to achieve, this is the beginning of the end for ISIS.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What is an Artificial Disc Replacement of the Neck?

Artificial Disc Replacements (ADRs) for the Neck (Cervical Spine) are small, high tech devices which are designed to function like a normal Spinal Disc between the Vertebrae. The job of a normal Disc is to act like a "cushion" or "shock-absorber" between the hard bone surfaces of the Neck Vertebrae.

Where is the Disc located in the Neck?

The discs are located in the front of the Spine between the largest parts of the Neck Vertebrae called the "bodies" of the Vertebrae. Below is an Interactive Color MRI which shows you the Anatomy of the Neck (Cervical Spine). This Image is Interactive. Just move your Mouse Cursor over the Image and see the Image Tags come alive. Each tag displays text to explain a specific structure (if the Interactive Tags do not display properly due to slow Browser Speed, just refresh the page).


Sagittal Cervical Spine Color MRI of the Spine Anatomy
Interactive Color MRI of the Cervical Spine (Neck) showing the normal Anatomy

Why are Artificial Discs implanted in the Neck?

The two most common reasons for surgeons to recommend an ADR are the most common disc problems in the neck: Herniated Discs and Degenerated Discs. Herniated and Degenerated Discs in the neck often cause chronic neck and arm pain. Herniated Discs can pinch the Nerves to the arm which can lead to arm numbness and weakness.

Here is a Color MRI which shows a herniated Disc in the Neck. This Image is also Interactive:



Sagittal Color MRI of a Disc Herniation in the neck
Interactive Color MRI of a Disc Herniation in the Neck

The next Image shows Disc Degeneration in the Neck. This Image is also Interactive.


Sagittal Cervical Spine Color MRI DDD
Interactive Color MRI of Disc Degeneration in the Neck

How does an Artificial Disc Replacement work?

There are many different styles of ADRs offered by a variety of Medical Device Companies. However, the general concept is the same. The top and bottom surfaces of an ADR are typically made of metal and are secured to the Vertebrae next to the ADR. The center core of the ADR is flexible to produce movement. ADRs try to create movement which is as similar as possible to a normal Disc.

Here is a Color X-Ray which shows how an ADR moves. This Image is Interactive.

 

Lateral Cervical Spine X-Ray Cervical ADR Flexion Extension
Interactive Color X-Ray showing an ADR moving as the neck is bent forward and backward
 
Here is a different type of ADR shown with the patient bending forward and backward:
 
two level Cervial ADR in Flexion and Extension
Color X-Ray of an ADR moving with patient bending forward and backward

What are some alternative Surgeries to an ADR?

The most traditional surgery for Disc Herniations and Degenerated Discs in the neck is a Fusion Surgery, also called "Anterior Cervical Fusion and Decompression" (ACDF). ACDF surgery is designed to replace a Disc with bone. The Vertebrae above and below the diseased Disc are meant to form a solid bone bridge with this bone. Once a fusion is complete, very little if any movement is left at the fused spine segment.

Here is a Color X-Ray of a Fusion Surgery in the Neck. This Image is Interactive.
 
Lateral Color X-Ray Anterior Cervical Fusion
Interactive Color X-Ray of the Neck showing a Fusion of a Neck Vertebra

How is an Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery done?

ADR Surgeries are performed from the front of the Spine. This is the easiest approach for a Surgeon to get to the diseased Disc. All the anatomical structures (muscles, tissue, breathing tube, swallowing tube) in the front of the neck are soft and can be moved out of the way. Once the disc comes into view, it is completely removed. The empty space is then measured to make sure the correctly sized ADR is chosen. The ADR is then carefully placed with the help of an X-Ray machine (fluoroscope).
Finally, the skin is closed.

How long does the recovery from Surgery take?

Recovery from ADR surgery is usually quick. The ADR will be able to provide neck motion right away. However, the bones of the Vertebrae next to the ADR will take time to grow onto the ADR itself. This is needed to secure the ADR in place. If too much motion occurs too early, the ADR could theoretically move out of its ideal position. Most surgeons recommend to avoid bending the neck excessively or participate in high impact activities early after surgery. Some or all of these restrictions can be lifted within the first few months after surgery.

How long does an Artificial Disc Replacement last?

Any Artificial Joint Replacement like ADRs or Hip and Knee Replacements have a limited life span. The actual life span of an ADR may depend on the type of ADR, the level of patient activity, and the amount of force the ADR has to absorb over time. At this point ADR life spans are estimated in the 15-30 year range. Replacing an ADR would be a similar surgery to the original placement.



Color X-Ray, Color MRI Images and Text like the ones featured in this Blog are available for Licensing for Websites and Publications at www.medicalmediaimages.com. You can also find these and hundreds of other Images on the Navigation Bar at the top of the Blog.

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General Disclaimer

Medical Media Images does NOT dispense medical or legal advice. Our images, text and any content cannot be used for diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition. All Images and content are for information purposes only. You must consult with your physician if you need medical advice. Medical Media Images is not a substitute for medical advice.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What is a Heel Spur?

Heel Spurs are bone spurs which form on our heel bone called "calcaneus".

What causes Heel Spurs?

Many other structures in our foot and ankle attach to our heel bone (muscle tendons, ligaments, fascia). Heel spurs usually form at these attachment points due to chronic inflammation from overuse. This inflammation eventually causes a bone spur to form. A common reason for heel spurs is "plantar fasciitis". The plantar fascia is tissue on the bottom of our foot which runs from the heel bone all the way to the balls of our foot.  When this tissue become inflamed (plantar fasciitis), it can cause heel spurs where it attaches to the heel bone.

Who has a higher risk to develop Heel Spurs?

Several conditions can make it more likely for you to develop heel spurs:

1. Abnormal Gait
2. Running and jogging on hard surfaces
3. Being overweight or obese
4. Wearing shoes without a good arch support.

What Symptoms do Heel Spurs cause?

Most patients experience pain and tenderness with walking, or just putting pressure on the heel. The pain is often described as a sharp "knife" or "needle" like sensation in the heel when first getting out of bed. Later in the day, the pain become more of a dull ache. The pain often gets worse with jogging or running. Walking barefoot on a hard surface can also be uncomfortable. Some patients can feel pain in other areas of the foot as well. This is due to inflammation which spreads from the heel to elsewhere in the foot.



How are Heel Spurs diagnosed?

A patient history of having pain and tenderness in the heel is often very suggestive of a heel spur. As the doctor pushed on the heel, you may feel your typical pain. An X-Ray will show bone spurs once they reach a certain size.

Here is a Color X-Ray which shows a typical heel spur. This Image is Interactive. Just move your Mouse Cursor over the Image and see the Image Tags come alive. Each tag displays text to explain a specific structure (if the Interactive Tags do not display properly due to slow Browser Speed, just refresh the page).



Lateral Color X-Ray of a Heel Spur
Interactive Color X-Ray of a Heel Spur

How are Heel Spurs treated?

The treatment of heel spurs depends on the severity of the pain and how much it impacts on your life. Here are some of the common treatments:

1. Anti-Inflammatory Medications (Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium, etc.)
2. Shoe inserts which are soft, donut shaped
3. Physical Therapy (PT) techniques to stretch the plantar fascia and foot tendons
4. Ice
5. Steroid Injections to calm the inflammation, followed by PT
6 Surgery: This is rarely done. Removing the spur itself may not give you pain relief.


Color X-Ray, Color MRI Images and Text like the ones featured in this Blog are available for Licensing for Websites and Publications at www.medicalmediaimages.com. You can also find these and hundreds of other Images on the Navigation Bar at the top of the Blog.
Here is a Video about Color X-Ray, CT, and MRI Images featured by Medical Media Images:


 
The Content of this Blog Including text and images are Copyright Medical Media Images

General Disclaimer

Medical Media Images does NOT dispense medical or legal advice. Our images, text and any content cannot be used for diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition. All Images and content are for information purposes only. You must consult with your physician if you need medical advice. Medical Media Images is not a substitute for medical advice.