Everything You Need to Know About Spotting and Treating Heel Spurs
If you have noticed a Small Bump on the back or bottom of your Heel or felt Pressure or Pain in your Heel as you Stepped or Jumped, you could have a Heel Spur.
Heel Spurs are Bony Growths that form on your Heel Bone. They can extend a little over a centimetre from the bone, but most don’t grow that large. This Condition can lead to Unsightly Bumps and Sharp Pain.
But don't worry—this Condition won't cause any Major Health Problems. It may cause some Pain and Discomfort as the tissues around the Spur become inflamed, but you may often experience no Symptoms.
To help you understand this Foot Condition better, we've included basic information about Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments below.
How You Know if You Have Heel Spurs
Heel Spurs don't always have Symptoms. In fact, many people don't know they have them until they get X-rays. However, when Heel Spurs have symptoms, you may notice the following:
- A small, extra Bump on your Heel Bone. A Spur could form on the back or bottom of your Heel. You'll see it more easily if it forms on the back. If it forms on the bottom, you might not see it at all.
- You'll feel sharp, concentrated Pressure or Pain when stepping or jumping. Heel Spurs often dig into the tissues around them, leading to inflammation. That inflammation could cause pain even when you don't put pressure on your feet.
If you have any of these symptoms, you need to visit your Chiropodist. He or she will see if you actually have a bone spur, and then the Chiropodist will help relieve your symptoms and treat the underlying cause.
Why Heel Spurs Form
Heel Spurs normally form because you put excessive strain on your Heel bone. Heel spurs often form when you:
- Have an abnormal gait where one foot has to work harder than the other
- Run frequently on hard surfaces
- Work on your feet all day
- Wear shoes that fit poorly or have worn so much that they no longer support your foot
- Have flat feet or high arches
- Gain weight
You can also develop Heel Spurs because of age or illness. Age decreases the flexibility of the Pads and Tendons in your feet, which means that walking or standing puts more stress on your Heels. Conditions like Diabetes also put you at a higher risk for Heel Spurs because they reduce the oxygen and nutrients going to your extremities. Since your feet don't get the nutrients they need, they strain more easily.
To prevent Heel Spurs, you'll have to baby your feet a little. Wear well-fitting shoes that support your arches and cushion your Heel. Your running or working shoes should also have shock-absorbent soles that'll soften the blow as you jump or step.
Why Heel Spurs Can Become a Problem
In addition to causing Chronic Pain, Heel Spurs can lead to other complications:
If your Heel Spur formed on the bottom of your ankle, it could aggravate and inflame the Plantar Fascia, the tendon that connects your Heel to your Toes and supports your arch.
When this tendon becomes inflamed, you'll experience sharp pain when standing, walking, running, or jumping. You'll have to stay off your feet for a while as the inflammation decreases, and you may have to get Orthotics or surgery to treat the problem.
If your Heels continue to deal with significant stress, the Heel spur could snap off and become a loose body. It could float in your joint (where it won't cause too much trouble), or it could embed into the lining of your joint or drift between your joints, making them lock in place. You'll need to contact a Chiropodist to discuss treatment options.
How to Treat Heel Spurs
If you know you have Heel Spurs, you can often treat the symptoms on your own. Use over-the-counter pain medication to relieve the pain, and stay off your feet for a little while. Use ice and massages to reduce inflammation, and buy yourself some quality shoes that'll relieve the stress on your Heels. You can even find shoe inserts that have a special gap to protect the Spur.
However, as always, you should consult with your Chiropodist if you suspect you have a foot problem. He or she should have a look at your feet to make sure you have Heel Spurs and not a more serious condition. He or she will also help you find the best treatment plan for your situation.
If you've noticed any bumps on or sharp pains in your Heel, don't wait and hope for the problem to disappear on its own. Use the tips above to relieve your symptoms and schedule an appointment with your Chiropodist.