Do you have an unpleasant, knife-like pain in your heel? Chances are, you might have heel spurs. This heel-based injury results from a variety of factors and can no doubt bring down the quality of your day-to-day life.
Granted, it can be difficult for you to walk or even stand for long periods of time due to heel spurs, but you don’t need to feel like this forever. In this article, we’ll tell you what are heel spurs, as well as ways to prevent and get rid of them for a pain-free body. Trust us; you’ll thank us later for it!
Essentially, heel spurs are that sharp, stabbing pain at the back of your heel. You tend to feel the pain especially when you apply pressure to that area while moving around, e.g. walking, running, or even standing.
Interestingly, they tend to come and go after periods of exercise, only to return after you rest. Overall, they’re never pleasant and can make everyday activities feel more like a chore than they should be.
Heel spurs form due to calcium buildup at the end of the heel, which is caused by the body’s reaction to a torn ligament of the plantar fascia. Normally, they happen due to plantar fasciitis, which makes the heel produce more calcium as means to make up for the inflamed or torn area.
From an X-ray, you can actually see the heel spur, which looks like a small protrusion coming out from the bottom of the heel bone. It appears to look like a hook and it creates discomfort for those who are constantly on their feet.
For more information, check out this article here.
Not only do runners get heel spurs, but also those who are older, are overweight, or have jobs that require standing for long periods of time. Again, heel spurs occur due to increased pressure on the heel, without having adequate time to rest, so it creates calcium deposit that results in increased pain in further activities.
In addition, heel spurs can occur in those who tend to wear improperly-fitted shoes, such as high heels and flip flops. These types of shoes don’t provide enough cushioning to the heel, which then aggravates the plantar fascia ligament to tear and lose elasticity over time. The shoes also force the user to walk in an uneven, unnatural gait, which worsens the symptoms.
Even if you’re wearing good shoes for activities like running, you might need to double-check to see if they still provide enough support for the back of your foot near the heel, as well as the arches. Especially, if you’ve been wearing them for a long time, perhaps it’s also time to switch them out for a new pair. For some running shoes to consider buying, check out an article that we wrote about here to learn more!
Treating heel spurs doesn’t necessarily require that you undergo surgery, but rather they can be done through non-surgical methods:
For heel spur treatment, you can watch this video:
Whether you’ve just recovered from having heel spurs or want to take measures to avoid them, finding way to prevent them are actually very easy.
Just like treating them, you’ll also want to get good shoes that not only fit you, but also provide all-around support in the arches, the toes, and of course, the heel. The back of the shoe should be thicker than the front and offer plenty of cushion for shock absorbency with each step you take.
Maintaining a healthy weight is a good idea, too, as it’ll relieve the pressure from your heels, as well as joints. Start slow with a balance diet-and-exercise regimen and work your way up to get yourself in better shape over time.
Finally, it’s also important to know when to take breaks in between exercising and sitting. While you shouldn’t be sedentary on the couch all day, it’s also not recommended to constantly be on your feet for long periods of time. Alternating between sitting and standing is the way to go, so that you can ensure that your heels will remain free of heel spurs.
For more tips on how to prevent heel spurs, check out this article.
All in all, heel spurs can be a huge, painful ordeal, even though they don’t necessarily end up damaging your foot in the long run. This particular injury is due to a variety of reasons, from having an inactive lifestyle to wearing the wrong types of shoes to even standing for too long.
That said, if you would like to prevent and/or treat heel spurs, the simplest ways to do so is to maintain a healthy weight, as well as find good, supportive shoes and a balanced lifestyle. Soon enough, your heel spurs will start to become less of a burden on you, and eventually disappear for a happier workout.
Have questions? Feel free to comment!