Heel Spurs: What They Are and How To Treat Them

Many people will develop bone spurs in their heels throughout their lifetime. There will be no pain or discomfort involved for many, but some people will find that heel spurs make normal walking very uncomfortable, limiting their lifestyle options. So how do you know if you have heel spurs? We hope this article will help you understand how to identify heel spurs and what you can do to treat them.

What Are Heel Spurs?

While normal walking can create heel spurs over time, many of our patients here in New York find themselves with heel spurs due to running or poorly fitting shoes. As the heel of your foot is pressured by shoes or activity day after day, calcium deposits can build up in your heel, causing pain and discomfort. You will most likely notice this sharp or dull pain when first walking in the morning or when walking after a long rest (such as during a meeting or a car ride). 

You may be more at risk of developing heel spurs if you suffer from the following four conditions:

  1. Wearing poorly fitting or underpadded shoes
  2. Being overweight
  3. Arthritis
  4. Unusual gait, such as having flat feet

If you believe that you are suffering from heel spurs, here are a few treatment options that your podiatrist may recommend.

Treatment Options for Heel Spurs

There are three categories for treatment options for heel spurs:

  1. At-home remedies
  2. Podiatrist-assisted treatment
  3. Surgery

While surgery may have been the first option doctors turned to in the past, podiatrists have learned that at-home treatments may be just as effective and are generally the first course of action for mild to moderate heel spurs.

Here are four options you may try to treat your heel spurs at home.

  • Rest – giving your feet a break from regular activity may allow the heel spurs to recede so your feet can return to normal.
  • Heat and ice – using heat and then ice for 20 minutes at a time may help reduce the inflammation in your feet that causes heel spurs.
  • Compressionnight splints and other corrective devices can help to relieve pressure on your feet.
  • Medication – over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can reduce inflammation in your heels and promote healing. They can also reduce the daily pain that some patients with heel spurs suffer from.

If you are unsure how to treat your heel spurs, it is always wise to make an appointment with a podiatrist to consult on your condition. Our doctors at Best Foot Doctor here in NY and the NYC area can help with whatever foot concerns you may have. 

Podiatrist-Assisted Treatments for Heel Spurs

If at-home remedies are not helping your heel spurs, a doctor may recommend one or more of the following five therapy options to relieve your pain and reverse the heel spurs trend.

  • Wearing custom orthotics
  • If you are overweight, they may recommend that you try to lose weight to lighten the load on your feet
  • Cortisone injections
  • Shock wave therapy
  • A podiatrist may advise you to visit a physical therapist to help

Surgery is not usually required for heel spurs, but it may be a last resort in severe cases. Rest assured, our doctors at Best Foot Doctor will do everything we can to work with you and find the least invasive way to help you treat your heel spurs.

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