"When your foot strikes the ground, you feel like you’ve stepped onto a thumb tack.” That’s how some people describe their heel spur symptoms. Most mornings, you have heel pain when you get up. The pain from a heel spur subsides during the day. That’s because moving relaxes the muscular and fascial tissue in the soles of your feet and your calves. If you fail to act in time, that initially dwindling heel pain can develop into a heel spur. You’ll continually have sharp pain in your heel, and it restricts your daily life.
A heel spur is a pointed, bony growth that can develop on your heel bone. Usually, it happens because the tissue running along the sole of your foot (the plantar fascia) becomes irritated. That’s why it is also known as plantar fasciitis. When your Achilles tendon is put under too much strain, it makes this kind of bone growth more likely – in this case, it grows on the upper part (back) of the heel bone. The constant extra strain pulls on the membrane around your bones (periosteum), resulting in bony growths and deposits known as “heel spurs”. Heel spurs are not necessarily visible to the naked eye – they only show up on an X-ray.
There are two types of heel spur:
This is a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel. A lower (or inferior) heel spur is caused by too much strain on the plantar fascia.
This is a bony growth where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone. In this case, you’ll get pain in the back of your heel. A rear (or posterior) heel spur is caused by too much strain on the Achilles tendon.
Compared to the anatomy of a heel spur: the anatomy of a healthy heel.
In the past, physicians would usually operate on a heel spur, but this only rarely offered long-term improvements for the pain. Here’s the good news: surgery is only necessary in the rarest of cases. In fact, you can alleviate heel spur pain with the tips provided below.
The most common cause of heel spur is excessive or unevenly distributed pressure when walking or running.
“Rigid footwear, long sitting periods in everyday life, sports or too much standing - these extra strains start to cause heel pain and heel spurs.“
There are treatments available for heel spurs and heel pain. What’s important is that you restore the natural tensile characteristics of your connective tissue, and strengthen your foot muscles.
in the early stages, what counts is protecting the affected area. Avoid movements that are very demanding on your feet (standing for long periods, jogging, running and jumping). Ideally, take a break from sports for now.
Cold or heat therapy:
cooling helps alleviate pain caused by inflammation. Heat helps to loosen up overly strained muscles and fascia. Just give it a try and see what feels best for you.
do a self-massage on your plantar fascia and calf muscles. This can really help with your mobility and ease muscle tension. When doing a fascia massage on the sole of your foot, remember: roll as close as possible to the heel spur. Only apply light pressure on the painful area. Next, you should mobilize your sacroiliac joint (SIJ).
Strength along the length of your foot and calf muscles
activation exercises using stretched positions help alleviate shortening of your foot and calf muscles. This provides a stimulus to regenerate your connective tissue.
if you have a tendency to get heel spurs, you should wear comfortable shoes or temporarily wear (gel) insoles to relieve pressure on the area with the heel spur. An orthopedist can recommend which insole is right for you depending on what kind of misalignment you have in your foot. You shouldn’t use this as a permanent solution, because it often ends up further reinforcing the misalignment. A better, longer-lasting way is to balance out tension using exercises.
If the pain is more severe and persists even with the exercises, we recommend you visit your doctor. They will be able to prescribe you the right medicine, ointment, shockwave therapy or radiotherapy, if needed. Even so, you’ll only be able to get rid of the pain for the long term if you change your lifestyle and ease tension in your muscles and fasciae.