Do you have Heel spurs? Are you suffering from pain caused by them? Don’t miss this quick guide to understanding and treating heel spurs:
What are heel spurs?
Heel spurs are an outgrowth of bone on the back of your heel (calcaneus bone) and can result from a variety of factors. Plantar Fasciitis, the inflammation of the fibrous tissue running along the bottom of your foot, often causes calcium deposits to build up into these small bony protrusions along the bottom of the heel bone.
Having an uneven gait may also contribute to heel spurs as does getting older since your ligaments lose elasticity and tighten with age. Lastly, runners and people who are overweight may also be at risk for heel spurs due to excess stress placed on the foot.
Most people experience pain from heel spurs or plantar heel pain when standing up after being seated for a long period of time or when pushing off the balls of your foot push. This type of movement compresses the heel creating discomfort and possibly severe pain in your feet and ankles.
The pain from heel spurs is similar to having a sharp pin or knife stabbing into the bottom of your feet, especially at first. The pain tends to lessen throughout the day into a steady, blunted ache.
What can you do to reduce your pain caused by heel spurs?
While a condition like heel spurs may have you thinking only an invasive procedure to remove them could help ease your pain, luckily there are a host of natural remedies you can try first.
Heel cup inserts help reduce the shock to your heels from walking or jogging while providing extra support when standing for long periods of time. They could possibly reduce wear and tear on your tendons and joints too. There are different shapes and sizes to suit all kinds of shoes. Heel inserts may also improve your foot strength while possibly balancing your step.
Acupuncture is another possible treatment for heel spurs or plantar heel pain aimed at deactivating the trigger points of pain and tenderness in a localized area. There are little to no side effects when treating heel pain with acupuncture.
Soaking your feet in Epsom salt can potentially help ease the pain caused by heel spurs. The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt is said to help reduce inflammation. You can either take a warm Epsom salt bath or simply put your feet into a tub of warm water and Epsom salt for 15-20 minutes.
A foot massage can promote circulation and blood flow, helping to break up the scar tissue accumulated from your plantar injury or heel spurs. Rubbing warm olive oil into your heel area may help to comfort the pain too.
Eating a diet rich with anti-inflammatory foods like leafy vegetables, tomatoes, olive oil, tuna, salmon, almonds, blueberries, and cherries can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, and subsequently may limit the pain caused by heel spurs. Remember to stay away from inflammation culprits like fried and processed foods, complex carbohydrates, and beverages with added sweeteners as well.
Surgery is the last option and most of the time heel spurs can be cured without surgery, however, surgery may be needed if all other treatments fail. Before surgery, you may want to look into low-level laser therapy like that which was performed in this 2012 clinical trial.
As always please consult your physician before making any decision related to your health or fitness.