Heel spur is a bony thickening of the calcaneal bone which is the largest bone in the foot. Here are some conservative measures that you could employ while treating a heel spur. These remedies should help in reducing pain and discomfort associated with spurs.
Heel spur is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It's a pointed overgrowth caused by calcification that changes the structure of the heel bone. When these calcified hooks protrude into the plantar fascia, the soft tissues of the heel get irritated and inflamed resulting in severe pain.
Heel Spur Symptoms
The pain is typically described as toothache in the foot. Severe foot pain on standing is the main symptom of a calcaneal spur. The pain is more in the morning and decreases with activity.
The pain is triggered by repetitive stress injury caused by excessive body weight, ill-fitting shoes, feet problems like misalignment of heel, sports activities that involve running, etc.
Heel spurs can be diagnosed with a foot X-ray where a bony outgrowth can be seen at the calcaneal bone near the attachment of plantar fascia. A radiological evidence will help in differential diagnosis of pain caused by spur, arthritis, stress fractures and other foot problems.
Treatment of Heel Spurs
✔ Rest: Staying off the feet does help. The intensity & duration of activity and weight-bearing should be reduced.
✔ Exercises: The exercise regimen should consist of mild stretches for strengthening the foot and calf muscles. This would keep the pressure off the heel by increasing strength and flexibility of adjacent muscles.
✔ Cold and heat therapy: Rolling an ice bottle or ice cubes under the foot can relieve the acute pain. It is advisable that you continue with ice massage for a few days even if there is no pain. However, in case of a chronic heel pain, heat treatments will help reduce the inflammation.
✔ Curcumin Extract: Supplements of curcumin/turmeric are an excellent natural remedy for heel spur. The recommended daily dosage is 500 mg of the extract for 6 weeks. It should be taken on empty stomach for best results.
✔ Linseed Oil: This is another popular treatment employed for for heel spurs. Take a cheese cloth, dip it in warm linseed oil such that it is soaked completely. Then wrap it around the heel for few hours. To keep the cloth warm, apply heat over it from time to time with the help of a heating pad.
✔ Weight loss: Losing weight can reduce the extra pressure that plantar fascia has to bear with each step.
✔ Avoid walking barefoot: Shoes are a must to support the arch of the foot. Do not walk on hard surfaces without shoes as it puts too much pressure on the plantar fascia. Foot inserts like arch supports and heel cups aid by cushioning the heel, and also reduce the weight-bearing on feet in between activities.
Pain relief medications like analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended in acute/chronic pain. Steroids and anesthetic injectables at the site of spur are prescribed if the pain becomes severe.
A covered footwear must be used to avoid recurrence of spurs. One should consult a podiatrist if the heel pain is chronic for further treatment and surgical advice.