Heel Spur Pain

By Jay Herrera, DPT
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Woman with heel spur pain

What is Heel Spur Pain?

Heel spurs are often painless; however, when they cause pain, it can be debilitating. It is typically due to an overgrowth of calcium deposit underneath the heel. It can be attributed to micro trauma over a long period of time.

Risk factors can include:

  • Excess weight
  • Poor walking mechanics
  • Strain of the foot repeatedly
  • Poor supportive footwear
  • Excessive jogging or running

Just to name a few.

One of the main reasons for pain associated to a heel spur is due to localized inflammation to the soft tissues attached to the spur site like the plantar fascia which is the dense tissue at the sole of your foot that creates a supportive structure for your foot in weight bearing.

Treatment Options for Heel Spur Pain:

Effective conservative treatment objectives in the early stage of symptoms are to control the inflammation. This can be accomplished with various methods such as:

  • Ice pack application for 10-15 minutes
  • Ensuring proper supportive foot wear
  • Stretching exercises to the sole of the foot ie Plantar fascia
  • Massage to the soft tissue of the foot near the irritated site
  • OTC NSAIDs to help control inflammation such as Advil® or Aleve® if tolerated

If this self-management approach is not well tolerated then you may need professional health care intervention. In this case,
Physical Therapy may be helpful to help identify mechanical dysfunction and assist in tissue healing via corrective exercise, physical agents like electrical stimulation, ultrasound, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization or Cold Laser (Low Level Laser Therapy). Medical treatment may indicate cortisone (steroid) injection which is an aggressive therapy procedure but can be a healing promoting factor.

An more intensive medical management procedure can be surgical management to remove the excessive calcium deposit that may be the reason for the persistent soft tissue inflammation.

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