15 Sep Heel Spur Pain
It gets its name from the way it looks, like a little bony spur under your heel. But there’s nothing little about the pain that a heel spur causes.
Heel spurs happen when there is too much strain on the foot muscles and ligaments, especially the plantar fascia. When that happens, the foot responds by building up a protective layer of calcium, resulting in the pointed spur.
Symptoms of Heel Spurs
Heel spurs are not painful themselves, but they lead to injury and inflammation of the tissues surrounding the heel. The resulting pain is like a pin or a knife sticking into the bottom of your heel.
Heel spur pain is especially sharp in the morning and after exercise. It begins as a stabbing pain that later becomes a dull, constant ache.
What Causes Them?
Heel spurs are often the symptom of an underlying inflammatory disease.
Reactive arthritis. This is an inflammation of the joints caused by an infection. These are usually infections of the genitourinary tract or gastric illnesses like salmonella and clostridium difficile.
Ankylosing spondylitis. A form of arthritis that mostly affects the spine. Ankylosing spondylitis is frequently a cause of back pain in young adults.
Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH). Also called Forestier’s disease, this is a form of osteoarthritis that is characterized by excess bone growth in the spine.
To treat and prevent heel spurs, it’s important to treat the inflammatory disease that caused them. Dr. Shuman can prepare a treatment plan that will heal the swelling, reduce the pain and get you moving.
Other Causes of Heel Spurs
- Vigorous exercise, especially with a lot of jumping
- Running on hard surfaces like concrete
- Injury to the Achilles tendon or plantar fascia
- Diabetes and other circulatory conditions
- Wearing shoes without proper arch support
- Wearing worn-out athletic shoes
How to Treat Heel Spurs
Wear orthotics. Custom orthotics will help ease pressure on the spur and the Achilles tendon. They can also correct any gait problems that led to the bone spur.
Protect your foot. Your podiatrist may have you wear night splints or a walking boot to keep your foot stiff and prevent further damage.
Decrease the inflammation. Reduce swelling by regularly icing your feet and ankles, especially after exercise. Over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medications will also help.
Wear soft shoes. Cushion your feet against the tenderness of a swollen spur with thick, soft socks and shoes. Your podiatrist may refer you to a pedorthist for help in choosing footwear or orthotic devices.
Try gentle exercises. Stretching movements that lengthen the plantar fascia can help with your healing and rehabilitation. Return gradually to regular exercise and always be sure to thoroughly stretch your leg and calf muscles after you exercise.
Be patient. Just as they take time to develop and show symptoms, heel spurs take time to heal. The pain will gradually lessen and full movement will return. It’s important to follow your podiatrist’s treatment plan.
Heal Your Heels
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we regularly treat heel spurs and other foot and ankle problems. We know that Loudoun County is filled with active, healthy people who want to keep their feet in the best shape possible, and we’re here to help. If you’re suffering from any kind of foot pain, call us today and get on the path to good foot health.