Heel Spurs Treatment and Facts

Heel Spurs can be a reason for pain in the heel. Let’s get some facts straight about heel Spurs! Read below for some basic information on heel spurs and what you should do if you find yourself with a painful one!

What are Heel Spurs? 

Heel Spurs are a build up of calcification on the bottom the foot. This calcification looks like bone on x ray imaging. However, this type of bone is not as hard as your skeletal bone. Some common myths state that they are caused by foot posture. This is now the case. Although you may have heard that you have flat foot, high arch, inverted foot, pes planus…

Did you know?? There is little correlation between posture and heel spurs. There is also limited benefit of correcting foot posture with orthotics. Don’t be fooled with fancy tapes and expensive foot orthotics. It is not always indicated!

Do heel spurs always cause pain?

NO! They can occur without symptoms and the size of the spur on x ray does not correlate with pain or function. There are many people who have undiagnosed heel spurs and no pain at all. These are typically called asymptomatic heel spur. A symptomatic heel spur is diagnosed when the likely cause of heel pain is caused by an identified spur. 

Who gets heel spurs?

There is some association related to increase weight, age, diabetes. But not all people with these conditions will get heel spurs.

What should I do about this?

Don’t panic! Symptoms can disappear with conservative treatment and even without. Sometimes the wait and see approach does work, but not always. Almost all patients will get better with non surgical options. Talk to your doctor or physio if you think you may have one. X rays are good ways to see if you have one.
Invest in a good quality supportive foot wear
Protect the bottom of the foot with comfortable and soft footwear
If the pain recently started, take some rest and try to ice the area
See a physio to get some movement ideas that will help mobilize muscle and strengthen the foot and ankle
Can be effective when conservative methods fail.
Shown short term pain relief with some complete resolution.
Not normally needed
Used for complicated persistent cases
Deep Penetration of Sound wave
Consider Shockwave therapy if continued fail with conservative management. Shockwave therapy can help decrease calcification pain. Shockwave will not always remove the spur. Instead, it may deform, and change the size of the spur. Significant pain reduction can occur without the reabsorption of the spur.

Let's Recap

Pain that is in the bottom of the heel could be a result of a heel spur. Although, not all heel pain is caused from a spur. If you suspect you have a heel spur it is recommended to attend you MD or Physiotherapist. Although imaging can identify heel spurs, some spurs do NOT cause any pain or discomfort. Some basic recommendations include:

Wear good supportive footwear that has good cushioning on the heel
Continue with exercise sand activity that does not cause aggravating or severe pain
Visit your MD or Physio