What is plantar enthesophyte?

Updated April 17, 2017

Plantar calcaneal enthesophyte is a skeletal condition referring to the formation of additional bone material in the foot. The first documented case was in 1900 and was considered to be an abnormality. However, researchers have discovered the condition is prevalent among the elderly.


Plantar calcaneal enthesophyte is a growth that takes root where your tendon enters your heel bone at the sole of your foot. The growth is bony and is referred to as a spur. The condition could occur because of excessive repetitive traction by the intrinsic muscles located at the attachment of the flexor digitorum brevis, which is the muscle that moves your big toe away from the other toes, and the abductor hallucis muscles, which is at the curve of your foot.


Systemic arthritis, along with the ageing process and active bone proliferation are associated with plantar calcaneal enthesophyte, which could, in turn, lead to plantar heel pad atrophy. This additional condition occurs as the spur expands at the enthesis, which is the point where your tendon and ligament attach to the foot. The condition causes chronic microtrauma that can lead to periostitis and calcification. Growth can occur at the flexor digitorum brevis and above the sturdy tissue lining the sole of your foot.


Researchers tested 216 people between 62 and 94 years old. Of the 140 women and 76 men, 119 had at least a single flatar calcaneal spur and 103 had an Achilles tendon spur. Those who had the plantar calcaneal spurs were more likely to have the Achilles tendon spur. The gender of the patient did not contribute to the results. The foot posture and reports of current and previous heel pain were considered.


Although the spurs are common among both genders, they depend on obesity and previous heel pain, but they are not related to foot posture. Of the sufferers, 95 per cent were obese. Another 95 per cent reported suffering from osteoarthritis and having previous or current heel pain. The spurs could be a result of vertical compression of the heel, instead of long-term traction on the calcaneal enthesis.

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Sheri Lamb has been a reporter since 2006 in community newspapers throughout Canada. While she has covered virtually every beat associated with community newspapers, Lamb specializes in sports. In addition to her skills as a reporter, Lamb holds a certificate in computer programming. She also runs a small catering company.