If you find yourself wincing in pain and tiptoeing around due to sharp discomfort in the bottom of your heel, you may be dealing with heel spurs. These little troublemakers often go unnoticed for years, silently lurking without causing any symptoms. 

When heel spurs decide to make their presence known, they can turn your daily routine into a foot pain filled horrible time. But fear not, we are here to help you unravel the mysteries of heel spurs, equip you with the knowledge you need, and provide effective treatment options to kick those spurs to the curb.

What are Heel Spurs?

Also known as calcaneal spurs, heel spurs are bony outgrowths that typically form on the underside of the heel. They often appear in response to long-term inflammation of the plantar fascia – the strong band of tissue that runs from the toes to the heel bone. Heel spurs contain calcium deposits and may extend as far as half an inch. 

Heel spurs tend to start underneath the heel, although they can affect other parts of the foot if left untreated. Most heel spurs are not visible to the naked eye, so diagnosis typically requires an X-ray.

How Do Heel Spurs Develop?

Heel spurs are caused by long-term muscle and ligament stress, developing slowly over time. In fact, spurs represent the body’s response to stress and inflammation, helping protect vital structures with extra bone tissue. Some of the most common contributing factors to heel spurs include:

  • Plantar fasciitis: A painful inflammation of the plantar fascia due to overuse or micro-tears. 
  • Biomechanical issues: Structural abnormalities such as flat feet or high arches can contribute to heel spur development.
  • Excessive physical activity: Repeatedly exercising on hard surfaces or significantly increasing the frequency of your workouts can lead to heel spurs.
  • Age: Our plantar fascia often lose their elasticity as we age, meaning heel spurs are typically detected in those over 40. 
  • Poorly fitted shoes: Old or ill-fitting shoes will not provide the arch support you need to prevent problems like heel spurs. 

What are the Associated Symptoms of Heel Spurs?

While heel spurs do not cause symptoms in and of themselves, they are associated with plantar fasciitis and can press on surrounding tissues, causing symptoms such as: 

  • Redness or swelling in the heel.
  • Stiffness in the foot.
  • Sharp heel pain, particularly after periods of inactivity.
  • Tenderness in the affected area.
  • Warmth in the affected area.
    woman holding feet on carpet
    ankle sprains

    Treatment Options for Heel Spurs

    It is not always necessary to treat heel spurs if they do not cause pain. Similarly, many people choose to manage their condition through rest, ice therapy, and over-the-counter pain relievers. However, we can offer a range of heel spur treatments, depending on the severity of your condition, including:

    • Custom orthotics: Custom orthotics provide your feet with the support they need to protect the plantar fasciae. 
    • Physical therapy: Physical therapies such as stretching exercises can help to strengthen the plantar fascia and surrounding tissues. 
    • Night splints: Night splints help to stretch the plantar to alleviate morning pain.
    • MLS laser therapy: This safe and non-invasive procedure can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
    • Surgery: In rare cases, our podiatrist may recommend surgery to remove the heel spur and alleviate stress on the plantar fascia.

    How to Avoid Heel Spurs

    It is not always possible to avoid heel spurs, particularly if you have high arches or flat feet. However, there are a few measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing heel spurs, including:

    • Maintaining a healthy weight.
    • Performing regular stretching exercises.
    • Increasing physical activity slowly.
    • Using orthotic inserts.
    • Avoiding running on hard surfaces too often.
    • Wearing comfortable shoes.
    • Taking occasional rest days that do not involve physical activity.

    Treat Your Heel Spurs with Crystal Coast Podiatry!

    Ready to bid farewell to your heel spurs and put the spring back in your step? Look no further than Crystal Coast Podiatry! Our team of friendly foot experts is dedicated to helping you diagnose and treat your heel pain in a comfortable and welcoming setting. 

    Whether you need custom orthotics, physical therapy exercises, the magical touch of MLS laser therapy, or expert advice, we have you covered. Do not let those mischievous heel spurs cramp your style. Take the leap and call (252) 638-4700 or fill out our online contact form to book an appointment. Let us walk together towards pain-free feet and leave those spurs in the dust!