Heel spurs are brought upon by either the plantar fascia or the Achilles tendon pulling on the heel. The bone reacts by creating a bone spur. The bone spur is a result of the problem, not a cause of the problem. For example, if you have plantar fasciitis, the bone spur is on the bottom of the heel, and is from the plantar fascia pulling away from the bone over time. If you have Achillles tendinitis, the bone spur is behind the heel, and develops after the tight Achilles pulls on the bone over time. Removal of the bone spur is not the treatment. The underlying problem needs to be treated. X-rays are helpful in determining whether or not a bone spur is present, or other problem. Sometimes the heel bone has a bone cyst or fracture that can mimic a bone spur.
There are different causes that may lead to a heel spur including poorly fitted shoes, excess weight or obesity, repetitive stress from running or jogging on hard surfaces, and arthritis. Treating a heel spur often requires a lifestyle change as well as getting plenty of rest. Using cold compresses is another method to help alleviate the discomfort of a heel spur. Custom orthotics help prevent the progression of the bone spurs.
Stretching exercises can help reduce the pain of heel spurs as well decrease inflammation you may be experiencing. Some of these helpful exercises include calf stretches performed either against a wall or on steps, foot rolls with a golf or tennis ball, seated foot flexes, and towel grabs with your toes. Heel spur prevention can start by understanding the everyday stresses put on your feet and knowing when to let your feet rest. It’s also important to not let heel pain go uncared for. Once you notice something is off, take action instead of waiting to see if it goes away.
If you’d like more information about heel spurs, call our office. We can provide you with a proper diagnosis and professional care.