A heel spur can be extremely painful for any person, nevermind an athlete putting a lot of force through their feet. A heel spur is a calcium deposit that builds up on the bottom of the heel bone and sticks out. A heel spur can protrude from the body as much as half an inch. Many people can go years with a heel spur and feel no pain, while others feel so much pain that the thought of running becomes too much. The place where the pain is felt is often confused with plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs are strictly a bone-related injury though. There are many different options for treating a heel spur including surgery.
What Causes A Heel Spur?
A heel spur is a slow building process. Calcium deposits build up on the underside of the heel, creating a bony point that sticks out. The spurs are caused by the foot muscles being under too much tension. If your feet are consistently tight, it could be pulling on the membrane that covers the heel bone. If you do a lot of running and jumping, you are at an increased risk of injury.
If you have a gait abnormality, when you walk, you also put yourself at further risk of a heel spur injury. This is also true if you play a lot of sports or run on hard surfaces a lot. Wearing poorly fitted shoes or badly worn shoes as well as being overweight can also put you at a higher risk of stress to your heel.
Nonathletic causes of a heel spur include having diabetes, increasing age which decreases the plantar fascia flexibility, spending a lot of time on your feet, and having flat feet or high arches.
Symptoms of a Heel Spur
Heel spurs can be tough to catch at first because they have no signs. The pain does not form the spur but from the tissue that is rubbing against it. The flesh around your heel may begin to swell or bruise for this very reason.
The pain may feel like a knee stabbing you in your heel constantly for your first few steps of the day. As you move more, the pain begins to go away. The pain often returns after a long time of sitting down. These symptoms are very similar to those of plantar fasciitis.
Treatment of Heel Spur
The best thing you can do is work on the muscle tissue at the bottom of your feet. If you keep your feet healthy, you should see a reduction in pain without needing surgery. If the soft fabric of the feet is pliable, it will not pull on the heel.
You should work with a health care provider to come up with a game plan. They will be able to help you identify the best way for you to attack this injury. Their game plan may include some of these options:
- Stretching exercises for the feet
- Manual therapy on the feet
- Physical therapy
- Change of shoes
- Night splints for when you sleep
You can always take over the counter pain-killers, but you should be cautious in doing so because it will make the pain go away but not the injury. Pain-killers just put pretty masks on ugly issues.
Surgical Treatment for Heel Spur
10% of people with a heel spur need surgery to be pain-free again. If you try to improve the situation without surgery and you see no difference after 6-12 months, you should consider surgery. The operation will do two things. The first task is to make the plantar fascia looser; the second task is to remove the actual spur from the heel.
To recover quickly, it is essential that you listen to all post-surgical recommendations. The reason is that if you do not, they can cause you to re-injure yourself.
Post-surgical recommendations can include:
- Surgical shoes
Possible Complication of a Heel Spur Surgery Include:
- Nerve Pain
- Heel Pain from an incision
- Numbness in heel
- Infection and scarring
- Foot cramps
Prevention of a Heel Spur
- Wear the right footwear
- Warm up properly for activity
- Roll feet on golf ball day and night
- Get treatment from a healthcare provider
- Avoid being overweight
Finding The Best Local Sports Medicine Providers for Heel Spur Pain
Kho Health is the best place to start your search for a health care provider to help you stay healthy. The key to success as an athlete is staying healthy and making sure the injuries are dealt with appropriately. Any athlete that plays the sports listed above is at more risk of a Heel Spur, and the key to success as an athlete is staying healthy.
Kho Health lets you search for providers by type and skill. For example, you can look for a Physical Therapist with any skill set you need. It does not matter what kind of provider you need, Kho Health can help you find them and help you to sort through their skills.
If you are unsure where to start your journey, Kho Health will ask you questions and help you figure out the best starting place. All you have to do is answer a few questions. From there, Kho Health will connect you with the type of provider best suited for your needs. It does not matter if you are injured or making sure you don’t run into Heel Spur problems.
The platform makes it easy to compare health providers as they are all given a Kho Number. How do you decide which healthcare providers are the best? Reading bios and reviews is just not enough because you need more than that.
Skill Sets to Look for In Sports Medicine Providers When Dealing with Heel Spur
Skill sets are the things healthcare providers learn after they graduate. A healthcare provider can take courses and get certifications for different skill sets. These skill sets are valuable and help them approach injuries from different perspectives so that you can get the best help at the right time for any heel spur issues.
- Dry needling
- Joint Manipulation
- Active Release Technique
- Graston Technique
- Functional Movement Screen
- Fascial Stretching
- Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Athletic Trainer
- Sports Background
- And many more