Heel spurs: how to stop it

heel pain 101

Heel spurs can be very painful. It can occur in men and women at all ages. As you can see by the amazingly detailed picture above, pain is usually associate with pain in the heel.

However.

The heel is kinda big place, so depending actually where upon the heel depends upon what could be going on. I'm going to go through the 2 most common types of heel spurs and treatment. But as usual, check it out with a medical professional first.

Heel spurs- Back Of the heel

heel pain back

This is where the pain is directly at the back of the heel. Usually seen in women or people who do a lot of jumping. It is usually associated with a tight calf muscle.

Why?

Because if the calf muscle is tight then it can give us a tight Achilles tendon. The tendon inserts into the back of the heel and will pull at that spot. Pain radiates around that area and around the sides of the heel. In time and over many years a spur on the back of the heel can appear:

heel spur

In some cases you can feel a bump on the back of the heel- called a Haglunds deformity.

Treatment?

Treatment depends upon the person. So:

  • If you are wearing heeled shoes then slowly reduce heel height- but dont go down to flat shoes. It will hurt
  • No jumping or those types of activity until at least the soreness has reduced then slowly build up activity
  • A small heel lift will help remove the tight achilles, then once you have done exercises you can start to reduce the use of the heel lift
  • If it is painful, like you can not put weight on it too much, or swollen, go and see the Dr
  • Some people have used Ultrasound. It can be OK in the initial stages or combined with other treatments
  • Some clinics inject plasma proteins in that area which helps to repair the area- usually done with top athletes
  • They can not go away unless surgically operated on. You just make the inflammation reduce and you live with it. Then something will happen and the pain comes back
  • Calf muscle stretches is a tried and trusted method. Many different ways have been done. I enjoy this version as it is a little bit more efficient:
heel pain treatment

Bend the right leg until you can feel tightness, no pain, in the back of the other leg. Hold it for 10 seconds...don't bounce. Release. Do it again 10 more times. Then swap legs and start again. You dont bounce and never do it to pain. 1 time per day for about a week and you see a difference.

This should be done twice a day everyday for a week. You should feel less pain after the week. A professional clinician should show you how. I can not because my interpretation could be very different to yours and that will not help anyone.

Heel spurs- bottom of the heel

This is quite common as well. The most common main things causing this?

  1. Cracked heels
  2. A corn
  3. Plantar Fasciitis

Here we will go with Plantar Fasciitis a very over diagnosed issue, very common and why does it have 2 i's together? :)

Anyway. With this you find that it is sore in the morning and when you walk around it tends to get better after a few steps. It is Acute and not Chronic- so treatment is simplified.

It actually isnt really plantar fasciitis as such. What it is is insertional plantar fasciitis. In other words, where the fascia inserts it is sore.

Just like the achilles tendon, the fascia inserts/ originates from the heel and then goes along the foot. Now if it is irritated and constantly pulled at the insertion point it will be sore. A heel spur can appear.

treatment

The main idea is to get the area back to being calm rather than "inflammed". So:

  • Gel heel inserts are nice. You need quite squishy ones which dont compress out. It is hard to find a decent type. Dr Scholls do a decent one. It isn't going to cure the heel pain but is going to reduce it:
heel spurs treatment

The picture above is for women. But you can have a look around the main gel heel cushions for heel spurs page on Amazon here.

  • Wrapped cold compression- no longer than 5 minutes, then remove after 5 minutes, wait 5 more minutes for the area to warm up and then walk. If you walk when it is cold it will hurt. Also if you have circulation issues, no cool.
  • The gastroc stretches shown further up this page
  • Decent running shoes. Running shoes with support, fastening, and cushioning all help. Remember that running shoes degrade over time. So they worked originally then they go "off"- time to change them
  • Rest is helpful. Some patients have been running, jumping and doing everything- yet they have little time to relax. Let the area calm down
  • The heel spurs on the bottom of you foot will not disappear either. They will stop being painful eventually but again, something will happen and they will become sore again. You can get them surgically removed.

Remember though. if you are in pain then get it checked out first.

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