Enthesophyte: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment
The enthesophyte consists of a bone calcification that arises at the place where the tendon inserts into the bone, which usually happens in the heel region, giving rise to a “heel spur”, as it is popularly known.
The formation of an enthesophyte is more common in people who suffer from conditions such as arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, but it can happen to anyone, causing symptoms such as stiffness and severe pain at the affected site.
Heel pain caused by an enthesophyte can be relieved with pain relievers and anti-inflammatories and, in more severe cases, with surgery.
Symptoms vary according to the affected site, however, as the enthesophyte is more common in the heel, symptoms typically include:
- Severe pain in the heel, especially when placing the foot on the ground;
- Swelling in the heel;
- Difficulty walking.
The pain caused by the enthesophyte may start as a slight discomfort and get worse over time. In addition, it is also common for the pain caused by the enthesophyte to worsen when a person stands for a long time or exerts a heavy impact on the heel, such as during jumping or running.
Here’s how to know if it’s a spur, or enthesophyte, on the heel and main causes.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis is made by the doctor and consists of evaluating the symptoms and observing the place where the person feels pain. In addition, an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI may also be required to observe the presence of bone calcification and confirm the diagnosis.
The appearance of the enthesophyte is more common in people who suffer from diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and gout.
Although more rare, enthesophyte can also appear in people who are obese, due to pressure exerted on their joints, in people who use certain joints a lot, or as a result of an injury during exercise.
How is the treatment done?
Treatment usually consists of resting the affected limb and taking the analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by the orthopedist, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, for example, being necessary, in some cases, to administer corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation. In addition, stretching exercises may also be indicated, which should be guided by a physical therapist.
Here are some examples of exercises to relieve heel enthesophyte symptoms:
If the enthesophyte is the result of an autoimmune disease, such as psoriatic arthritis, it may be necessary to control the disease with appropriate treatment and, in this way, the doctor may be able to guide you to another specialty. Learn more about psoriatic arthritis and see what treatment consists of.
In cases where the injury is very serious and is not relieved by stretching or medication, surgery may be necessary to remove the enthesophyte. See the main forms of treatment of the enthesophyte in the heel.
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