Are you finding it harder to put your heel down to the ground when walking without feeling pain? Heel spurs, bony growths on the bottom of your heel caused by calcium deposits, can make getting through your day difficult, but there are treatment options available to help you return to your regular activities without that discomfort.
As a double board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Thomas Rambacher has seen his fair share of heel spurs and the pain they can bring your way. With many years’ experience with this condition and its causes, he gives the lowdown on dealing with heel spur syndrome.
Step 1 - Discover the cause of your heel spurs
It can be difficult to detect heel spurs, as they don’t always cause pain, and the heel pain you’re experiencing might not be directly because of heel spurs. A thorough examination is needed to diagnose that heel spurs are the problem and figure out what’s causing it.
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel spurs, and the one that mimics the condition by causing heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is the name given to the occurrence of irritation and inflammation of a band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot. This is normally due to the strain and stress of normal use.
As the plantar fascia inserts into the heel bone, suffering from this condition can sometimes cause heel spurs to develop. Heel spurs can form independently of plantar fasciitis, but they tend to share the same causes:
- Athletic activities that require repetitive movements
- Obesity putting pressure on your feet
- Not wearing the right footwear
- Trauma to the heel
Other medical conditions that can cause heel spurs include ankylosing spondylitis, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, and reactive arthritis (Reiter's disease).
Step 2 – Minimize the cause of your heel spurs
When you’ve pinned down the cause of your heel spurs, you can take simple steps to minimize the problem. Wearing the correct footwear for your daily and sporting activities is a great way to ensure your foot is well-supported, despite the stresses and strains you put it through.
Taking the time to put your feet up whenever you have some downtime is good for taking the pressure off your feet and enabling them to rest from your daily activities. If you have swelling, then applying ice packs can reduce this and relieve some of the discomfort.
If you are carrying some extra pounds, losing that excess weight can take a lot of pressure off your feet and legs, improving circulation and preventing heel spurs from developing.
Step 3 – Explore heel spur treatment options
Custom made orthotics that slip inside your shoes are fantastic for relieving the pressure from your heels, and they ensure your feet are supported in their natural position during your day. Orthotics combined with rest and OTC anti-inflammatory medication is a simple, yet effective, approach.
When you’re struggling to get through your day due to the pain from heel spurs, then it’s time to look at cortisone injections for a more effective form of relief. These shots are a stronger form of anti-inflammatory medication that can reduce the pain and swelling in your heel.
Sometimes, surgery to remove the heel spur may be necessary to bring relief and reduce any tension in the plantar fascia that may be causing the problem.
If you’re suffering with heel pain that’s preventing you from enjoying your daily activities, book your consultation with Dr. Rambacher today at the Podiatry Hotline Inc. and discover the best form of treatment for you here in Mission Viejo, California.