What is a Heel Spur?
A heel spur is a foot condition that is caused by a calcium deposit that creates a bone-like growth on the underside of the heel bone. A heel spur often starts underneath the heel and can gradually affect other parts of the foot. It is difficult to detect heels spurs because they are not visible to the naked eye. A heel spur can be detected through an X-ray.
Causes of Heel Spurs
They are often caused by strains on the foot muscles and ligaments, stretching of the Plantar fascia, and repeated tearing of the heel bone membrane. If you experience heel pain, rest your foot until it gets better. Some of the causes for increased risks for heel spurs include the following:
- Increased Age
- Excess Weight and Obesity
- Poorly Fitting Shoes
- Standing Most of the Day
- Running or Jogging on Hard Surfaces
- Having Flat Fee or High Arches
Symptoms of Heel Spurs
Heel spurs do not always cause pain. Many people experience intermittent or chronic pain while walking, jogging or running. The pain is sharp and feels like a knife or pin sticking in the bottom of the heel.
Heel Spur Treatment
The good news is that most heel spurs can be treated with rest and some lifestyle changes including cold compresses to temporary relieve the pain. Foot stretching exercises, shoe inserts, proper shoes, physical therapy, and night splints can also help reduce the pain. Over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen can help to reduce the pain. However, if the pain persists, an anti inflammatory injection can help to ease the pain and inflammation. More than 90% of people will improve with non surgical treatments. If these treatments do not work, surgery may be necessary to relieve heel spur pain. The surgery would include releasing the plantar fascia and removal of the spur.
Heel Spur Prevention
The best way to prevent a heel spur is to wear shock-absorbent, supportive shoes that are appropriate for your physical activity. Always warm up and stretch before working out and pace yourself. If your shoes are worn down or not level, do not wear them. If you are overweight, a little weight loss can help to prevent heel spurs.