A heel spur is a medical condition where a calcium deposit grows between the arch of the foot and heel. It does not cause any discomfort until it is large enough to cause a deformity.
Because knowledge about the condition is somewhat limited, it is often mistakenly assumed to be plantar fasciitis (the most common cause of heel pain). Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament which supports the arch.
There are two types of heel spurs:
- a posterior heel spur – it develops near the Achilles tendon, behind the heel;
- an inferior heel spur – it is usually linked to plantar fasciitis and develops on the lower inner part of the heel.
Symptoms can include:
- point of tenderness at the bottom of the heel which makes it hard to walk barefoot;
- small, visible bone-like protrusion under the heel;
- heat which is radiating from the affected area;
- swelling and inflammation at the front of the heel;
- a dull ache in the heel that is felt throughout the rest of the day;
- when standing up in the morning, a sharp pain like a knife in the heel.
The condition is directly caused by long-term ligament and muscle strain.
Factors that may lead to the condition include the following:
- diabetes – although healthcare professionals don’t know why the condition occurs more often in individuals with diabetes;
- stress – it plays an important role since it stimulates the production of inflammatory hormones in the physical body;
- arthritis – some forms of arthritis can cause inflammation in the tendons in the bottom of the foot;
- nicotine – smoking tobacco and second-hand smoking contribute to an acidic internal environment;
- weak foot arch muscles;
- a diet which includes lots of processed foods (containing artificial flavors and colors and fried vegetable oils), red meat, and alcoholic beverages can cause a uric acid build-up in the small joints feet;
- wearing shoes with a poor support;
- jumping, running, or other strenuous activities, especially on an uneven surface;
- a prolonged flexion of the foot may trigger pain;
- being middle-aged or older;
- being overweight or obese;
- having flat feet changes the shock absorption ability;
- prolonged standing position, like having a job that requires a lot of standing, especially on hard surfaces;
- a lift or a collapse of the arch;
- being pregnant – it can lead to inflammation and mechanical problems.
Heel spurs can be identified with ultrasound imaging or X-ray testing, that produces an image in the calcaneus bone of the heel.
Treatment of the condition is the same as the treatment of plantar fasciitis since these health problems are related.
Treatment options include:
- medication like anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation and pain in the area;
- orthotics for the shoes which align, support, and improve how the foot functions;
- to reduce the symptoms and heel pain it is recommended to apply ice packs;
- strapping to support the foot will allow the area to heal;
- footwear must not cause you any pain and has to provide adequate support for the types of activity you do;
- surgery – it may involve removing the spur from the bone, however, it is only considered after all other treatments do not work.
Note – when the area is strapped and rested, it typically takes around seven weeks to recover from a heel spur.
Here Is A List Of 4 Essential Oils For Heel Spurs:
This oil is packed with alpha-linolenic acid and omega-3s, fatty acids, which have been linked with healthier hearts and brains, decreased inflammation, better moods, and healthier hair and skin. In addition, it is an effective natural remedy for heel spurs.
Coconut oil helps you deal with hard and dry skin conditions since it is an amazing skin softener.
It contains compounds such as α-turmerone, ar-turmerone, and β-turmerone that enhance your overall health in a variety of ways. This oil is produced through steam distillation of the rhizome.
Moreover, it has anti-inflammatory properties that make it one of the most important home remedies for heel spurs as it helps reduce inflammation and pain caused by heel spurs.
Lavender (scientifical name – Lavandula angustifolia) is one of the most versatile of all essential oils. It has anti-inflammatory properties which make it a possible treatment for pain caused by heel spurs, according to a 2015 study.
Apple cider vinegar can remove the excessive amount of calcium in areas affected by heel spurs.
#2 Cold Compress
Apply a cloth-covered ice pack to the heel. Furthermore, it is recommended to apply a cold compression pack to the heel to help keep the ice pack in the correct place.
You can gently massage your heels with Epsom salt. In addition, you can sprinkle some Epsom salt in warm water and dip your feet in it.
Ginger boosts blood circulation which helps reduce the healing time. Ginger essential oil is also effective to cope with inflammation as well as it enhances a sluggish immune system.
Try not to stand for too long or walk long distances as it is vital to let your affected foot get some rest.
To improve blood circulation and provide temporary relief, you could massage the foot with aloe vera.
Carrying extra weight puts more pressure on your heel. Therefore, if you are overweight or obese, losing weight to reach a healthy body mass index can help to alleviate some of that pressure.
Good methods to lose and maintain weight loss include:
- regular moderate physical exercise;
- getting enough sleep – aim for 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep;
- reduce your stress levels by practicing a daily mindfulness meditation session or tai chi;
- have a regular diet rich in fruits (mangoes, apples, papayas, pineapples, pears, plums), vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, carrots), whole grains (oatmeal and quinoa), and legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, green beans).
Here are some tips to help prevent this condition:
- maintain a healthy weight;
- stretch regularly;
- avoid running on flat, hard surfaces;
- wear proper footwear with orthotics;
- pace yourself when exercising;
- treat any underlying associated inflammatory disease;
- warm up before exercising.