Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention
Heels spurs are common causes of heel pain, but what are they? As the name suggests they are bone outgrowths that develop on your heel bone. They often form on the bottom of the heel where the plantar fascia attaches or on the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches. Heel spurs are believed to form because of frequent irritation where the tendons attach to the bone. Heel spurs are often, but not always, seen in connection with plantar fasciitis because both conditions come from repeated stress on the connection of the soft tissue to the bone.
Symptoms of heel spurs
In some people, heel spurs don’t cause any problems and are only discovered when the foot is x-rayed for other reasons. Others report feeling pain or irritation when they put pressure on the spur itself. These symptoms can range anywhere from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot. When a spur develops on the back of the heel patients often report their pain to be centered there and made worse when pushing off with the ball of the foot.
Treatment for heel spurs
Because heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are closely connected the treatments for the two conditions are very similar. The first step is to rest the tired muscles of your legs and feet. It is very important to stretch and relax the muscles of the leg and the foot so that there will be less stress placed on the heel bone. Massagers and foot baths are great tools that you can use every day to reduce the tension in your legs and feet. When you have to be on your feet you will need to be sure to give your feet the support they need. Support can come from insoles or other types of shoe inserts, such as heel cups. Wear supportive socks or sleeves that fit around your feet to support your feet no matter what shoes you wear.
Prevention of heel spurs
Wearing poorly fitting or unsupportive shoes can produce spurs. Buy comfortable shoes. Forgetting to stretch properly before and after exercising on a regular basis can also aggravate spurs. Warm-up before running, hiking, and other foot work. If you’re too heavy, lose weight. Those extra pounds only place stress on the bottoms of your feet.
With the risk factors in mind shoe choices, stretching and exercising appropriately become very important to preventing heel spurs. You always want to choose shoes that fit the activity you are doing. Be sure that your shoes aren’t worn out because then they can’t support or cushion your feet.
If you show symptoms of having heel spurs, see a podiatrist for proper diagnosis.