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Heel spurs: what are they and how can they be treated?

Have a healthier life while protecting your feet

It is now a matter of common knowledge that physical excersise is good for your health and increases your life expectancy. Doctors and teachers, all of them recommend light to moderate physical activity for people of all ages. It helps you reach a healthy weight, strenghtens your muscles and protects your bones, improves your breathe and blood flow, and it even helps you fight stress, memory loss and other disorders of your brain. A recent study in Denmark has showed how jogging can add up more than five years to your life span. You don't have to be a high impact athlete to benefit from excersising, during walking or light gymnastics you are already activating your metabolism and becoming healthier.

There are few physical activities that do not involve our feet at some level. We need them to stand, walk, run, jump, and perform dozens of different movements. We need them in good shape so we can do our excersises without having to worry about injuring them. Think about it this way: they do a very important job at supporting our body weight plus whatever we lift or carry. Every time we run or jump, with each step, we put our feet under a very strong mechanical pressure. They are structurally prepared to resist quite a lot of stress, but sometimes our personal conditions or the intensity of our excersise can overload them, and this is when they get injured.

Of course, there are ways of over-stressing our feet that have nothing to do with physical excersise. Sometimes, just standing up for hours, or walking around in high heels, is enough to harm our feet and give us heel pain. Why the heel? Because the heel bone, also known as calcaneus, is the biggest bone of our feet and supports most of our body weight. Plus, there is where the plantar fascia, the tendons of the sole of the feet, are connected. 

Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs

Think about the plantar fascia as rubber bands tighten between the tips of your fingers: the thumb is the heel and the forefinger is the foot ball. Place those two tips on the table and then press down your hand. Your fingers will stretch open like the legs of a ballerina, and the rubber band will stretch out as well. Plantar fascia are like that rubber band, and if you stretch them too much, they will rip up. 

When this happens, you will experiment a condition known as plantar fasciitis. You feel the damage to your feet as throbbing pain when you step. A former patient of plantar fasciitis referred to this feeling as if she was "stepping on broken glass". Usually, the pain is much stronger in your first steps in the morning or after a while of not walking, and then it eases away as long as you keep standing.

You can develop a heel spur if you keep an untreated plantar fasciitis. Basically, it is a sharp thorn of bone that grows from your heel bone as a result of the constant strain of the plantar fascia. The bad news is that this is a very painful condition with foot damage, and the good news is that it is easy to cure.

(Source: Footlogics)

What to do with heel spurs?

There are many ways to manage foot pain caused by heel spurs. Luckily, this kind of foot damage is often healed by the body itself after a few weeks or months. Even if there is an actual spur coming out of your bone, you will more than likely not need surgery at all. It ill involve and dissappear, because it has always been a consequence of your plantar fasciitis. Once the plantar fasciitis is cured, your heel bone condition will be left in the past.

There is a lot of info in the Internet about plantar fasciitis and how to cure them, but here is a shor brief of the main points of a good treatment.

1) Fight the cause. Stop all hard intensity physicial excersise. Don't walk barefoot or stand for too long on hard surfaces. Use foot-supportive shoes and orthotic insoles to correct your foot arch. Control your overweight. Get rid of high heels.

2) Fight the inflammation. Use ice buckets or ice packs for short periods of time, about five to ten minutes will be enough. You can try medication as well, be it topic or a pill.

3)Support and strenghten your feet. Use orthotic insoles, padding and/or bandages. Perform foot excersises regularly.


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  • Heel spurs: what are they and how can they be treated?
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    Treatment to your foot condition is available! Simply fill out the form below and we will contact you to set-up an appointment!

    Salomons Centre for Achilles Tendon, Calcaneus and Plantar Fascia Disorders
    76b High Street, Brentwood
    Phone: +44 1632 960540
    Email: support@salomonscaspd.org.uk
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