Having a heel spur is very annoying. It can be difficult to diagnose and cure, and it may develop without you knowing it. This is why it is very important to have a good understanding of the illness, its causes, measures of prevention, and of course, its treatments. Read on to learn more!
Overview on Heel Spurs
Heel spurs are a bone growth condition affecting the bottom or rear parts of the heel bone. Also known as osteophytes and calcaneal spurs, these protrusions may often develop without any obvious signs or symptoms.
When you experience heel pain, it is a pretty safe assumption that you have a heel spur. These calcium deposits, which can also affect other parts of the foot, are only about a quarter of an inch long and may not be visible to the naked eye. This, combined with their lack of symptoms, makes them hard to detect. As well as this, not all heel pain is the fault of a spur.
Causes of Heel Spur
Heel spurs may be caused by multiple factors, including:
- Walk: the way you walk may result in the development of heel spurs. This is especially true for those who have a flat foot, are pigeon-toed or have other abnormalities.
- Choice of shoes: wearing shoes that don’t really fit or do not give adequate support to the feet may result in heel spurs.
- Aging: as we age, our ligaments, bones and tissues become weaker, potentially leading to inflammation in the heels. It may also increase calcium deposits, which turn into heel spurs.
- Obesity: Obesity may put a lot of strain on the muscles and ligaments, causing chronic inflammation in the feet and legs.
- Repetitive physical activity: for those who run and jump regularly, heel spurs are quite common. The repetitive impact on the arches, ligaments and heels may cause inflammation and may eventually lead to heel spurs.
- Calcium level: an excessive amount of calcium in the body may speed up the development of a heel spur.
- Foot ligaments: most heel spurs are caused by inflammation or damage to the foot ligaments.
Symptoms of Heel Spurs
The symptoms of a heel spur are hard to determine. Only 50% of the people who have one actually suffer pain. Those that do describe it as a dull aching in the heel or a stabbing pain such as that of a pin or knife. These symptoms are most obvious when waking up or standing up after a long period of time. This is because the increased blood flow to the area may inflame the damaged tissue.
Treatments for Heel Spur
Here are some of the best treatments for heel spurs:
Coconut oil. Coconut oil’s active ingredients help treat various illnesses, including heel spurs. It also helps reduce inflammation and stimulate the healing process.
Ice. Applying ice to the affected area may help soothe inflammation by slowing down the inflammatory response of the body and reducing swelling.
Surgery. You can opt for surgery if you really want to get rid of the condition, but this is usually a last resort.
Swimming or cycling. These two sports are both non-impact, thus helping ease strain on the area.
Physical therapy. Undergoing physical therapy may help by providing you with exercises specifically made to slow down the onset of a heel spur or ease your symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory medications. You can use various anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling. Ibuprofen and cortisone are two of the best medicines for heel spurs.