The largest bone in the foot is the heel. It takes the most abuse while walking by absorbing a large portion of the shock and pressure of each step. Any pain or discomfort in the heel can directly affect a person’s ability to go about daily life, making heel spurs treatment something to consider.
Do you experience sharp pains in your heels first thing in the morning or after extended time on your feet? These pains might be indicating that something else is wrong with your foot. One of the most common causes of heel pain is a condition called heel spurs. Before discussing heal spurs treatment, it is important to understand what a spur is and how it forms.
What are Heel Spurs?
Heel spurs are small, bony, calcium deposits that protrude from the bottom of the heel bone. They cause sharp foot pain along the bottom or front of the heel bone. Spurs don’t always cause pain or other obvious symptoms, but when they do, the pain is often chronic, affecting functionality. Discomfort may subside occasionally, only to flare up after a long period of sitting or standing.
What Causes Heel Spurs?
Every foot has a broad band of tissue running along the bottom surface from heel to toe. This fibrous tissue is called the plantar fascia and is the true cause for bone spurs. The spurs form when the tissue pulls away from the heel causing a bony protrusion to develop. The common term for this condition is Plantar Fasciitis.
As the main support for the arch, the plantar fascia is extremely strong. It is supposed to be flexible, allowing a wide range of motion. Certain factors can stress the tissue leading to irritation and inflammation where it connects to the heel bone. Continued stress and irritation of the fascia leads to the development of heel spurs.
The irritation of the plantar fascia is the true cause of the heel pain. Sitting or sleeping for long periods causes the fascia to tighten and pull short. Standing up and applying sudden weight on the foot forces the tissue to stretch uncomfortably. This causes tearing or irritation at the connection point, making the day’s first steps the most painful.
Risk factors that may make a person prone to heel spurs are:
- High foot arches
- Flat feet (low or no arches)
- Wearing poorly fitting shoes
- New or increased physical activity
- Overuse or repetitive activities on the feet, such as running, jogging, or jumping
- Gait abnormalities
- Standing for long periods of time every day
Custom Orthodics as Treatment for a Heel Spur
Treatment for a heel spur ranges from chiropractic care or physical therapy and even surgery. Usually, the best option for heel spur treatments is custom orthotics. Custom foot orthotics are special inserts for your shoes. They are not the same as over-the-counter inserts and must be prescribed by a doctor. These particular inserts are made specifically for you, addressing the issues unique to your feet.
Custom orthotics lift the plantar fascia, supporting and cushioning each step. They can be designed to apply acupressure at nerve points to relieve pain. The orthotic fits inside your shoes, preventing the arch from collapsing during activities like walking, jumping, and running.
Diablo Foot & Ankle for Heel Spur Treatments
Foot pain may not be life-threatening but it can severely affect your quality of life. If walking and standing are difficult, it is hard to work or enjoy your favorite activities. The doctors at Diablo Foot & Ankle are here to help you take back your life and get a handle on your foot pain. If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation regarding your foot pain, contact us today.
Common Podiatry Questions
What is a Podiatrist?
A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot and ankle.
What does a Podiatrist treat?
A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the feet. They can treat conditions such as ingrown toenails, fungal toenails, bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis.
What’s the difference between a Podiatrist and Orthopedist?
A Podiatrist and Orthopedist are very similar to each other in many ways. They use most of the same tools and treat a lot of the same conditions. The main difference between the two is their medical training. Podiatrists are trained exclusively on the foot and ankle, whereas the Orthopedic is trained on the whole body with an additional year of training on the foot and ankle.