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Heel Spur: What Is It and How to Treat It?

heel painSharp heel pain with every step and stiff, sore legs in the morning—do these symptoms sound familiar? If yes, you might be dealing with a painful foot condition called a heel spur. The good news is that it’s treatable.

What Is a Heel Spur?

A heel spur is a bony growth on the heel bone, visible on an X-ray. Despite its small size, it can cause distinct and sharp pain in and around the heel.

Causes and Risk Factors

Our bones remodel themselves according to the pressure we place on them. These growths form when the heel is overloaded, putting excess strain on the attached tendon. This causes inflammation, leading to calcium deposits on the tendon, which eventually calcifies and turns into bone.

You might think you’re not overloading your heel if you walk normally and run occasionally. However, overloading isn’t just about doing too much; it’s about doing it incorrectly. The foot is designed to distribute weight naturally when we walk barefoot. Regular shoes, however, restrict foot movement and disrupt this natural weight distribution, often causing excess pressure on the heel.

Anyone who overloads their heels and feet can develop this condition, especially those who:

  • Wear shoes that constrain the feet
  • Frequently wear high heels
  • Have a misaligned leg axis
  • Are overweight
  • Engage in long-distance running
  • Walk incorrectly

Symptoms of Foot Pain

The symptoms can vary but typically include:

  • Heel pain (centre or inner edge)
  • Pain after movement (walking, sports)
  • Pain and stiffness upon waking
  • Pain shooting up the calf
  • Swelling and redness

Even if it’s not a heel spur, these above symptoms indicate a problem.

Detecting Foot Issues

You can often detect foot issues by feeling around the heel. Push deeply and move your fingers along the bone. If you find a particularly painful spot, a growth might be developing.

Prevention and Treatment

The best prevention is to walk naturally, which can be challenging in regular shoes and socks. Walking in foot-shaped shoes allows your feet to function correctly. If barefoot walking isn’t an option, choose shoes and socks that respect the natural shape and function of your feet:

  • Wide toe boxes that don’t restrict your toes
  • Elastic materials that adapt to your foot
  • Flexible soles that follow your movements

A wide toe box is crucial because free toes distribute weight properly, preventing overloading any part of the foot, including the heel.

Are Foot-Shaped Shoes Effective?

Foot-shaped shoes can help prevent and treat foot issues. These shoes respect the foot’s natural shape and function, providing roominess and flexibility that simulate barefoot walking. However, proper walking techniques are also essential.

Tips for Healthy Feet

  • Walk barefoot on various surfaces
  • Practice foot exercises like picking up objects with your toes
  • Get regular foot massages
  • Train your body to distribute weight evenly
  • Centre yourself with grounding exercises
  • Engage your toes

During treatment, avoid going back to narrow sneakers. Foot-shaped shoes are recommended for their spacious, flexible design. However, transitioning too quickly to barefoot shoes can be painful if you’re not used to them.

It’s important to wear foot-shaped shoes that are roomy and flexible, walk on soft surfaces, and focus on a soft landing with each step.

By following these guidelines and our holistic therapies, everyone can effectively prevent and manage foot issues.

Start Your Journey to Pain-Free Feet

Take the first step towards pain-free feet by trying our recommended foot-shaped shoes. Contact Harvey Young Advanced Holistic Therapy today for more information or to book an appointment.

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