Heel Spurs

A heel spur is a bony growth which is found either at the back of the heel or underneath the heel bone. It is built up from a calcium deposit that will protrude out from the foot, up to half an inch towards the arch. The primary cause of heel spurs is a common foot complaint called Plantar Fasciitis. The Plantar Fascia is the tendon that runs along the underside of the foot and connects the heel to the toe bones.

Heel Spurs can become inflamed or aggravated, which can cause pain when walking or putting any weight at all on the area. Alternatively, a heel spur can develop from inflammation of the Achilles Tendon.

The pain associated from heel spurs is usually experienced as a sharp pain on the underside of the heel. This is most notable on the first steps after getting out of bed. Often a little walking helps reduce the pain, but prolonged or intense movement will make it worse. This can make heel spur treatment difficult.

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The heel spur will develop when excessive strain is placed on the Plantar Fascia tendon. Excessive strain can be caused by:

  • Incorrect biomechanics
  • Old age
  • Being overweight
  • Standing on hard surfaces
  • Injury and other concerns such as arthritis
  • Incorrect and unsuitable footwear

More often than not it is a combination of these factors which causes the heel spur to develop.

It is not the spur itself which causes the pain.  It is just a sign of chronic inflammation in the connective tissues. The condition can be picked up on an x-ray and then heel spur treatment can begin quickly.

Heel Spur Treatment

Calcium deposits that form heel spurs will not detach or decrease completely on their own. Heel spur treatment will be required to remove them completely. Surgery is rarely required as at-home treatments and easy measures can be introduced to reduce the symptoms.

Rest is the primary method for heel spur treatment. Simple cold compresses should also be applied after intense exercise or long days on your feet. Anti-inflammatory treatments, including creams and balms, can sooth the pain that begins to radiate between the heel and arch. Simple over-the-counter medications will also help if pain becomes too acute.

Specialist stretches and basic physiotherapy can also reduce the pain of heel spurs. The gentle exercises can be implemented into a routine after over-exercise or bouts of pain. Even the most effective stretches for heel spur treatment can be performed at home, including calf stretches and simple rolling. Please note, exercise will reduce the symptoms of heel spurs but not treat the actual cause.

The most common cause of the above issues is down to over-pronation.  This is where the foot/ankle roll inwards therefore applying excessive pressure on the on the Plantar Fascia tendon.  The best way to treat this is to wear orthotic insoles.

FootActive orthotics are designed to support the arch of the foot and stabilise the heel therefore restoring the natural foot position.  This reduces the strain and pressure on the Plantar Fascia and will therefore reduce the pain! Get in touch with one of our experts, working with podiatrists and physiotherapists to ensure we are providing the best foot care.