Wondering how to choose a new foot doctor? If you are currently experiencing problems with one or both of your feet, then finding a local podiatrist who can diagnose and treat your foot problems is your next step. A podiatrist is a medical professional who also knows how to treat problems related to the ankle…
How Do You Treat Heel Spurs?
Heel spurs are calcium deposits that form at the bottom or back of the heel bone. As they grow, they effectively become an extension or outgrowth of the heel bone.
Many people who have heel spurs do not even know that they have them unless they find themselves needing a foot x-ray for some unrelated reason.
For other people, heel spurs cause pain. The pain can be mild enough to be only annoying — or it could be serious enough to limit a person’s mobility. For such people, learning to treat and manage heel spurs allows them to live fuller, more pain-free lives.
How heel spurs occur
Like all bone spurs, it is an outgrowth that is triggered by the inflammation of the soft tissue that surrounds the bone. In the case of a heel spur, the surrounding tissue is the plantar fascia. This is the reason why heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis. So what causes the soft tissue that surrounds the heel bone to become inflamed?
Causes and risk factors
In a nutshell, a heel spur is triggered by a stress injury to the surrounding soft tissue. In most cases, this soft tissue is the plantar fascia, its tendons and its ligaments. Here are some of the ways that they strain and become inflamed:
- When a person stays on their feet all day
- Running or exercising on hard ground, every day
- Having an unusual walking gait
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes
- Having an illness that causes the soft tissues to become inflamed
- Being overweight
Luckily, most of the causes of heel spurs can be avoided. Meaning that to prevent heel spurs, all a person has to do is change certain behaviors.
Symptoms of heel spurs
Telltale symptoms of heel spurs are:
- Pain when a person walks after a period of inactivity
- When the spur is at the back of the heel, a person will feel pain as their heel lifts from the ground with each step
- If the spur is at the bottom of the heel, a person will feel pain when they step on the heel
- The heel may be tender, red and swollen
Treatment for heel spurs
Most foot specialists will advise their patients to choose a conservative approach to treatment. That means treating the root cause of the heel spur, which is inflammation. By removing the inflammation, there is a high chance that the bone spur will resolve itself and stop causing pain. Some popular home remedies include the daily application of ice or a cold compress to the heel, stretching exercises to flex the muscles of the foot, and the use of foot splints at night. This prevents the foot from aching when a person wakes up in the morning.
If these home remedies are not effective, a podiatrist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and physiotherapy to manage and eventually eliminate inflammation. They may also suggest the use of shoe inserts or orthotic devices to cushion the heel and correct an abnormal gait, as well as the limited use of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.
If the heel spur fails to go away after more conservative treatment plans, a podiatrist may recommend surgery to remove the heel spur. This is often the last resort, due to the risk of recurrence and possible nerve damage.
Treatment starts with the right diagnosis
If you are dealing with heel pain, come see us at our practice. Our foot specialist will examine your foot to confirm if you indeed have a heel spur. With the right diagnosis, our podiatrist will create a treatment plan that will help manage and treat your bone spur.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Heel Spurs in Pocatello, ID.
Arch pain can limit your mobility if you fail to address its root cause and get treatment. Read on to learn about some common causes of arch pain. Each of your feet is made up of 26 bones that form two arches. These bones are held together by their shapes like a jigsaw puzzle. A…
Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, are common. Many people with flat feet go about their lives fairly oblivious to the fact that they have flat feet. But many others are affected by their flat feet, to varying degrees.Some put up with slight discomfort when they walk or run for a long time. Others…
A fractured foot can be a stressful process, and there are many questions one may have along the way. One of the more frequently asked questions podiatrists receive is whether or not a cast is needed for a fractured foot. This review answers this specific question and provides insights into what the fractured treatment process…