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Calcanei are the most common sites for bony spurs. Although calcaneal enthesophytes have been extensively researched, many unknowns remain. Whether biological factors, such as age, weight and genetics, play a greater role in calcaneal spur etiology than activity is still unknown.
The current study examines 121 adults from a prehistoric hunter-gatherer population to aid in understanding bony spur etiology.
Calcaneal spurs are scored as present or absent on the dorsal or plantar side; they are analyzed in regards to their relationships with age, sex, osteoarthritis, cortical index, femoral head breadth and muscle markers.
Dorsal and plantar spurs frequencies increase with age (chi-squares=16.90, 7.268, Ps<0.05, respectively). Dorsal spurs were more frequent than plantar spurs (chi-square=38.000; P<0.0001). There is a positive relationship with calcaneal spurs and upper limb and lower limb osteoarthritis (chi-squares=5.587, 7.640, Ps<0.05, respectively).
The data presented support that dorsal spurs are in part the result of activities, but plantar spurs may be a more modern phenomena resulting from long periods of standing and excess weight.