Heel spurs occur as a result of trauma or stress to the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. A person with problematic heel spurs will typically feel a sharp pain when they put their weight on their feet, more so after resting them for a while. The pain becomes pronounced when they get up in the morning or when they stand after sitting for a while. After the person walks around for a few minutes, the sharp pain turns into a dull, constant ache.
The pain can limit mobility and reduce the person’s quality of life. That is why a podiatrist will take measures to provide relief to their patients. One common treatment for heel spurs is a combination of orthotics and specially made shoes. Let us see how these work to relieve heel pain by taking a closer look at heel spurs and how they cause pain.
How a podiatrist treats heel spurs
A heel spur is a needle-like calcium deposit that forms on the underside of the heel bone. As the name suggests, the calcium deposit becomes a jagged outgrowth that looks a lot like a spur. The sharp outgrowth will sometimes push into the soft tissue that surrounds the heel bone, causing pain.
A person will feel the spur when they put their weight on their heel. With bodyweight pressing down on the heel, the spur pushes into the padding of the heel, causing a person to feel like they are stepping on a pin that is inside their heel.
Once a podiatrist confirms that their patient has heel spurs, they will try conservative treatments like:
- Anti-inflammatory medication to treat the inflamed soft tissue
- Pain medication for the discomfort
- Stretching exercises to relieve pain in the soft tissue
- Orthopedic shoes or some other type of orthotics
A podiatrist will use a combination of two or more of these treatments to provide relief from heel pain. They may recommend surgery for severe heel spurs, but this is often a last resort.
How to choose a pair of shoes that provides relief from heel pain
Shoes can play a big role in managing heel spurs. A good shoe will cushion the heel from the bulk of a person’s weight. The shoe will do this by distributing a person’s weight to all parts of the foot. A shoe that helps with heel spurs also keeps the heel and ankle stable, which also helps to manage heel pain. Here are a few tips that help with finding a pair of shoes that provide relief from heel spurs:
- Get a prescription for specially made, custom-fitted shoes
- When shopping for shoes, find a comfortable pair that fits perfectly. Avoid shoes that are too big or too tight
- Choose a pair of shoes that is neither too high nor too flat
- Find shoes that provide arch support; they will distribute a lot of the weight away from the heel
- Look for shoes that have padding around the heel area
- Find shoes that brace the ankle and the heel. These also protect the heel bone by reducing the amount of weight that the heel carries
- If a podiatrist prescribes orthotic appliances for heel spurs, find a shoe that will accommodate them
These tips go a long way toward finding a pair of shoes that will keep heel pain at bay. By following these guidelines, a person can manage their heel spurs and stop them from growing.
Our podiatrist can help
The feet dictate how easy or difficult our lives are. We do not notice them when they are healthy, but we recognize their value when they start to hurt, which is why you should take care of your feet by taking preventative measures to keep them healthy.
If you are suffering from heel pain, contact our office to make an appointment. The podiatrist will check your feet for heel spurs and provide the care and treatment you need to get back on your feet.
Request an appointment here: https://www.pocatellopodiatry.com or call Ambulatory Foot & Ankle Clinic at (208) 803-0010 for an appointment in our Pocatello office.
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