Heel Spurs

A heel spur, also known as a bone spur in the heel, is a bony growth that protrudes from the bottom of your heel, where your heel bone connects to the ligament that connects your heel to the ball of your foot (the plantar fascia). Heel spurs affect approximately 15% of the population.

Heel spurs form over time. Most people are unaware they have a heel spur until they seek treatment for heel pain. While heel spurs can be removed surgically, healthcare providers recommend non-surgical treatments to alleviate the symptoms.

Heel spurs are caused by a buildup of calcium in the heel. This is something that accumulates over time and is caused by excessive foot wear. They are more common in athletes, particularly those who do a lot of running and jumping, due to the strain on the heels, but there are a variety of causes that can result in heel spurs. Heel spurs can cause pain, not because the spur itself is painful, but because there is a risk of soft-tissue damage around the spur, which can be painful.

Heel spurs EasyFeet

Insoles for Heel Spurs provide heel support and comfort. They not only help to control the heel spur, but can also help to prevent it from occurring in the first place. By supporting the foot and heel, they relieve strain on the heel and may reduce calcium buildup.

Insoles for Heel Spurs come in a wide range of sizes and styles. Finding the right fit for your foot is critical, because the wrong size has the potential to do more harm than good by increasing the strain on the foot.

What causes heel spurs?

Heel spurs are the result of your body's reaction to stress and strain on your foot ligaments and tendons. When you have plantar fasciitis, your body responds to the stress by producing a heel spur.

Foot pounding, which is common among professional athletes, causes calcium deposits to form on the bottom of your heel bone, resulting in a protrusion that causes inflammation. However, you don't have to be a track star to get heel spurs.

What causes bone spurs in the heel and what are the risk factors for heel spurs:

  • Walking gait abnormalities that put undue strain on the heel bone, ligaments, and nerves near the heel.
  • Jogging or running, particularly on hard surfaces.
  • Shoes that are ill-fitting or worn, particularly those that lack adequate arch support.
  • Obesity and excess weight  

Other risk factors for plantar fasciitis include:

  • Growing older reduces plantar fascia flexibility and thins the heel's protective fat pad.
  • Diabetes is characterized by spending the majority of the day on one's feet.
  • Short bursts of physical activity on a regular basis
  • Having either flat or high arches on your feet

Heel spurs symptoms

Heel spurs become a problem when they cause heel spur pain, which patients describe as feeling like a pin or knife sticking into the bottom of their feet when they stand in the morning. As the day progresses, the pain becomes a dull ache. Pain can also occur when you stand up after sitting for an extended period of time.

Diagnosis of a heel spur

Heel spurs EasyFeet

Without medical assistance, it is difficult to diagnose a heel spur. This is due to the fact that the symptoms are similar to other types of heel pain and foot problems.

For a proper diagnosis, you'll need to see a specialist, such as an orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist. An X-ray can then be used to detect a heel spur.

Bone spurs on heel are typically not visible with the naked eye. This is why diagnostic imaging tools are so important if you have unidentified causes of foot pain and inflammation.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your foot to look for signs of redness or inflammation before ordering imaging tests. Your doctor will also examine your foot for any signs of tenderness; tenderness is another sign of a heel spur.

Your podiatrist may also ask you to perform physical tests and try ways to treat heel spurs, such as standing on one foot at a time and taking a short walk.

Heel spur treatment and how to fix heel spurs

Following the next steps, you can understand how to heal heel spurs:

  1. Cold compresses. Cold therapy can help relieve inflammation in the heel tissue. Applying a cloth-covered ice pack to your heel is one option. A cold compression pack could also be used to help keep the ice pack in place. Many pharmacies sell these as gel packs or cold foot wraps.
  2. Anti-inflammatory medication injections. When the location of the bone spur is accessible, local cold application can help. Depending on the location of the spur, anti-inflammatory medications and treatment for heel spurs are commonly used, both orally (over-the-counter NSAIDs) and by local steroid injection (Kenalog, Depomedrol, Celestone).
  3. Stretching and exercises for heel spurs. Stretching and exercising as heel spur treatment options on a regular basis can help to reduce the pain and inflammation caused by heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. It's a good idea to keep doing the stretches, even after your feet feel better, to avoid a recurrence.
  4. Rest. You're resting your heel. So what can be done for heel spurs? Taking a break while running or jogging will help your heel pain.
  5. Physical therapy for heel spurs. More than 90% of patients with heel spurs do not require surgery and can see significant improvement with just physical therapy. While physical therapy cannot completely eliminate heel spurs, it can reduce the inflammation that causes pain and limits mobility.
  6. Orthotic shoe inserts (doctor will help you to choose the best shoes for heel spurs). The movement patterns of the foot and ankle can be used to reduce and/or control pain from heel spurs. Buying orthotics can help improve your current symptoms, while also preventing future problems and deterioration.
  7. Cushioned shoes or orthotics for heel spurs. Silicone heel pads, or custom-made orthotics may help a person suffering from heel pain. Supportive shoe inserts can be provided by a podiatrist.
  8. Corticosteroid injections. Steroid injections may be prescribed by a doctor to help reduce inflammation and pain. However, too many injections can lead to additional issues, such as chronic pain.

The following advice will help you to avoid and heel spurs and care for them if they develop.

How to Avoid Heel Spurs

Preventing heel spurs necessitates a greater focus on overall foot health. Be aware of the daily stresses you place on your feet. Make sure to rest them at the end of the day.

As a general rule, never push through any heel pain that develops.

Walking, exercising, or wearing shoes that cause heel pain can lead to long-term problems, such as heel spurs. If you have heel pain after any activity, ice the area and rest your foot until it heals.

What are the danger signs of heel spurs?

A number of factors increase your chances of developing heel spurs. Some factors can be changed immediately or gradually over time. Others, you cannot change.

What to do for heel spurs.

  • When jogging or running, choose soft surfaces such as grass and tracks over hard surfaces such as roads and pavements.
  • Wear shoes that are comfortable and supportive of your arches.
  • When walking on hardwood or tile floors, wear slippers or shoes.
  • Change your walking style to relieve pressure on your heels.

Changes that can be made over time

  • Lose weight to relieve pressure on your foot.
  • Change your daily routine to reduce your time on your feet.

What is it that you can't change?

  • Your plantar fascia becomes less flexible, more prone to damage, and more likely to develop plantar fasciitis as you get older.
  • The natural fat pad cushions on the bottom of your feet gradually wear away.
  • You either have large feet or high arches.

Heel spurs treatment at home

Calf and surrounding muscle stretches, as well as plantar fascia stretches, can help to reduce strain and pressure on the heel spur. Stretches that are beneficial include:

  • Foot flexes
  • Calf stretches

Stretching in the morning, afternoon, and evening can help you reduce heel spur pain significantly. You can also stretch your plantar fascia and calf muscles at night by wearing special splints that keep your foot flexed. These splints are especially beneficial in reducing morning heel pain.

Surgery for heel spurs

Calcaneal spur reduction is a surgical procedure that removes all or part of a heel spur, which is a painful outgrowth on the heel bone (calcaneus) that causes pain, inflammation, and swelling. When conservative treatments fail to provide relief, heel spur surgery is performed.

There are two surgical approaches: one for inferior spurs (on the bottom of the heel) and one for posterior spurs (on the back of the heel). Although heel spur surgery is highly effective, some patients may require up to three months to fully recover.

Surgery is a less common treatment for heel spurs, but it may be necessary if no other treatment relieves pain and restores mobility. Nonetheless, heel spur surgery is not a "short-term fix."

Before undergoing heel spur surgery, ask your doctor if all other treatment options have been exhausted.

A heel spur develops when your plantar fascia, the ligament on the bottom of your foot, is damaged by stress and strain. Heel spurs aren't always the cause of heel pain. You most likely discovered your heel spur while seeking treatment for heel pain, but even if your heel spur was not the source of your heel pain, you should still keep an eye on your heels. Talk to your healthcare provider about additional steps you can take to relieve heel pain if your heels hurt when you do certain activities.