A heel spur is a bony growth that forms on the heel bone and causes discomfort or acute pain, mainly when walking or running. This common condition affects many people, particularly those who are active or spend much time on their feet. Does a heel spur go away on its own? Unfortunately, no. Heel spurs usually require some form of treatment to alleviate pain and discomfort. The good news is that Dr. Joel Foster can recommend various treatment options to manage heel spurs and effectively improve your quality of life.
Common Symptoms of Heel Spurs
It starts with pain in the back or bottom of the heel. This pain can be sharp or dull, and worsen with physical activity or when standing for long periods. In addition, there are other signs of heel spurs, such as:
- Swelling or redness. Occasionally, a heel spur can cause swelling or redness, which is an indication of inflammation.
- Tenderness. Even the slightest touch is irritating, particularly where the spur is located.
- Reduced mobility and stiffness. This makes it difficult to walk or engage in physical activity.
- Tingling or numbness. Depending on the size of the heel spur, it may infringe upon various nerves.
However, not everyone with a heel spur experiences these additional symptoms. In fact, some people might not present any at all. But it's time for a professional exam if you’re struggling with chronic or intermittent foot pain while exercising.
Dr. Joel Foster's Treatment Options for Heel Spurs in Lee's Summit
A heel spur doesn’t go away on its own, but Dr. Joel Foster can diagnose spurs using various methods. He can perform a physical exam and order imaging tests, such as an X-ray, to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment options for heel spurs depend on the severity of the condition and the individual's specific symptoms and needs. Dr. Joel Foster first thoroughly examines the area to rule out or address any underlying issues. Then, he will recommend different treatments that won’t remove the heel spur but may prevent it from worsening and provide helpful pain relief.
Conservative treatments for heel spurs may include:
- Rest and ice. One of the first steps in treating a heel spur is to rest the affected foot and apply ice to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Stretching exercises. Extra bony tissue usually develops because of stress, strain and tightness in the muscles and tendons of the foot, resulting in a bone spur. Proper stretching exercises can alleviate this restriction, which may in turn reduce pressure on the spur.
- Footwear. Wearing proper shoes can also also reduce pain. Look for shoes that support the foot and stabilize your feet.
- Custom orthotics. Wearing custom orthotics inside your shoes provides additional support and stability for the foot to reduce pressure when walking or standing. Orthotics can also be used to improve many biomechanical flaws contributing to heel pain.
- Medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, help ease inflammation and lessen pain.
- Accelerated soft tissue healing therapies. Many patients report decreased inflammation and pain with therapies such as laser treatment and regenerative injections. These methods are often used with other treatments to stimulate the body’s natural healing responses.
- Equinus brace