How to Treat Heel Spurs Affordably
Our feet can handle a lot of abuse: incorrectly sized shoes, improper arch support, uneven terrain, etc. Too much pressure and stress, though, can cause foot complications such as heel spurs.
Heel spurs are calcium deposits that build up under the heel. These deposits create bone protrusions that can extend as far as half an inch under the heel. They are often paired with plantar fasciitis, inflammation in the fibrous band. The fibrous band or connective tissue, also known as the plantar fascia, connects the ball of the foot to the heel bone from the underside of the foot. Most people who suffer from heel spur pain will feel it if they stand up after a long period of rest, or after extensive exercise or time on their feet. Fortunately, not everyone with heel spurs experiences pain; some people just find these calcium deposits to be a nuisance.
What Causes Heel Spurs?
Heel spurs mostly affect athletes, due to their rigorous exercise routines. They can be caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia, foot muscle strain, continuous tearing of the heel bone membrane, and/or strain on the ligaments in the foot. The following can also increase the risk of developing heel spurs:
- Jogging or running on concrete
- Obesity and extra body weight
- Shoes that do not fit, have no support, or are worn incorrectly
- Gait abnormalities
- Short bursts of physical activity
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Long periods of time on your feet
People experience heel spurs in different ways, making it difficult to create a list of standardized symptoms. Most people can actually walk around without ever knowing that they have them! The pain that sometimes stems from heel spurs is caused by inflammation, and is oftentimes reported as stabbing pain followed by a dull ache.
Upon diagnosis, healthcare professionals may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Foot-stretching exercises
- Orthotics (custom-made shoes for your condition)
- Shoe inserts
- Physical therapy
- Foot strapping or taping to relieve tendon and muscle stress
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Cortisone shots to control inflammation
- Surgery to remove the spurs (in extreme cases)
Usually heel spurs can be controlled if surrounding inflammation is controlled. Physical therapy, exercise, and stretching can strengthen the feet and may even eliminate a cause of the heel spurs.