Heel pain is a bothersome condition because it hurts with every step you take. One cause of heel pain is a heel spur. Not all spurs are painful, and when they do hurt, it isn't the spur that hurts, but the tissue that surrounds it. Here's a look at what causes heel spurs and treatments that help relieve the pain.
What Causes A Heel Spur
A heel spur is a growth on the bottom of your heel bone. It is made of calcium deposits, and the growth can be tiny or large enough to cause pain when you walk. Spurs can develop for a number of reasons. It could be due to wearing shoes with heels that are worn down or standing on your feet all day. Joggers have a higher risk of developing these spurs as do people with plantar fasciitis. If you are overweight or have a gait abnormality, your risk is higher as well.
How Heel Spurs Are Treated
Heel spurs are painful in the same way plantar fasciitis is painful. The pain is more intense as you start walking when you first get out of bed or after you've been sitting for a long time. One way to relieve pain is to wear a brace on your foot that holds the foot in a stretched position. Your podiatrist may want you to wear the brace at night while you sleep.
These braces are made of soft material so they are comfortable enough for sleeping, but they are rigid enough to hold your foot in a stretched position. Treatment for a heel spur is often focused on the tissues that attach to your heel such as tendons and fascia. Physical therapy may help by teaching you stretching exercises for the heel area. Your podiatrist may show you how to tape your foot to relieve pressure on the heel to relieve pain.
In addition, you may be advised to buy proper support shoes or wear orthotics that pad and elevate your heel. Bone spurs don't usually go away on their own, but with proper management, you can reduce pain and avoid surgery. In some cases, it is necessary to surgically remove the bone spur when other forms of treatment don't help. Once you've had surgery or eliminated the pain from your spur, you'll want to take steps to prevent further problems.
This includes wearing shoes appropriate for the activity you're doing, whether it's running or standing on your feet all day. Your foot doctor may also correct for problems such as flat feet or high arches by providing you with orthotics or prescription shoes so you can reduce the risk of heel pain in the future.
For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Bazzi Podiatry.