Auteur: Dr Du Pied, podiatre
What is Lenoir’s thorn
This spine, named after the person who discovered it, is also called a calcaneal spur because it is a bony excrescence that appears at the junction of the plantar fascia and the posterior tarsal bone of the heel (calcaneus).
What causes the appearance of the calcaneal spur? The latter often originates when the arch of the arch or plantar arch collapses, causing a tightening of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous membrane that connects the heel to the base of the toes and surrounds tendons, muscles and nerves.
As the foot flattens and lengthens, the fibrous membrane tightens and causes traction on the heel bone, which eventually widens to form a spine. This calcaneal spur may be accompanied by inflammation, and it is from this inflammation that the pain arises. It can also occur as a result of plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the fascia where it joins the heel bone.
The solution to pain relief. Identify the actual source of the pain by consulting a foot health professional. The truth is, it’s not a matter of treating a sore thorn blindly, but of stopping an ailment that interferes with daily and leisure activities.
Appropriate treatment. Many people who come to a podiatry office mistakenly believe that the pain they suffer from is caused by this calcaneal spur. Many also question or worry about the appropriateness of surgery.
In fact, no surgery is worthwhile to relieve the pain, because the pain is not caused by the spine, but by an inflammation of the plantar fascia. In fact, once the inflammation is stopped, the spine remains, but the pain disappears.
The basic treatment therefore consists of resting the sore foot.
We will come back to this at the end of this text.
Bone enlargement is the basis for the formation of the calcaneal spur. Our feet are extremely stressed in a day and become the source of many problems, from the most benign to the most important. This bone excrescence, for example, represents a reaction of our body, in this case our foot, to an overload of weight or a physical trauma.
The definition of the Lenoir’s thorn remains the same for all its names: it essentially consists of this widening of the bone at the point where the plantar fascia attaches to the calcaneus.
The heel bone, more precisely the calcaneus, even though it is often targeted as a point of pain, is not the cause. It simply undergoes, we remind you, an excessive stretching of the plantar fascia which tightens.
The plantar fascia and the heel are the two key elements in the formation of the Lenoir spine. In such a way that an inflammation of this fascia, also called plantar fasciitis, proves to be the primary cause of pain in the foot, particularly in the heel. Thus, it can be said that it represents a serious warning before the appearance of the calcaneal spur.
Symptoms of Lenoir’s Spine
Various indications can alert us to the possibility of suffering from plantar fasciitis or an inflamed heel spur. A slight pressure on the heel can be hellish. Intense and sudden pain can be felt.
The bone excrescence itself, revealed during an x-ray or examination at your Podiatrist, can alert us before the inflammation sets in and causes pain. In addition, Lenoir’s Spur is ubiquitous in many people as they age; the shrinking of the foot cushion may be the cause. This is a normal condition.
The heel bone, the calcaneus, undergoes a great deal of stress as the inflammation of the fascia increases to the point of becoming chronic. This implies a decrease in many physical activities for people with this type of problem.
People with flat feet, already prone to foot pain, obviously become more at risk. The bone tip can thus appear if the irritation intensifies and is not treated.
Hard surfaces in some workplaces are among the conditions that can lead to heel pain and, incidentally, bone widening. In fact, people whose jobs involve standing on a hard floor all day long are truly at risk.
Physical activity that places a heavy load on the foot, such as running, racquet sports, aerobics, etc., is also among the conditions that can predispose to characteristic inflammation.
The symptoms remain, of course, discomfort and pain that increase over time. The pain is often localized to the heel and can intensify at different times of the day. This usually leads to the cessation of activities that increase the pain.
How can Lenoir’s thorn be healed?
Treating the calcaneal spur requires, depending on the situation, the degree of pain and the history of inflammation, resting the foot. Nevertheless, you must be sure of the true diagnosis. How to heal? A Podiatrist will be able to examine your foot and suggest appropriate treatment options: resting the foot for a determined period of time; stopping harmful physical activity for a certain period of time; softening or stretching exercises; wearing proper footwear; foot orthotics; adapted insoles; etc.
What to do in case of uncertainty? Before accepting a treatment that leaves you confused, ask for a second opinion. The importance of keeping our feet healthy justifies itself in all our daily activities. This is why you must eliminate any doubts about any procedure, whatever it may be, especially if you are advised to have surgery without further explanation.
Remember that a foot check-up can be very useful to identify the factors responsible for pain, but also to quickly prevent any foot problems that could degenerate and complicate your life.
Do not hesitate to make an appointment for a consultation with a Podiatrist. He remains the professional best placed to help you.2021
© 2019 Dr Du Pied, Podiatre