Dancing on my toes

How Can Heel Spurs Be Treated?

Heel spurs are no fun at all. These bony protrusions at the bottom of the heel can cause significant amounts of heel pain every time you put your foot to the ground and are common problems for runners or very active people putting pressure on their feet a lot.

The good news is that there are things you can do to help treat this pain. Your first port of call should always be to meet with a podiatrist to assess your individual situation. Your podiatrist can then advise you one or more of the following treatments:

Orthotics. Orthotics is the technical way of describing inserts that are put into your shoes to offer more support and to relieve pain. These are not the kind of inserts that you can find in any shoe shop but inserts that are specially moulded to the shape of your heels. These inserts are not something to be used in the long-term, but using them in combination with other treatments can offer a great deal of pain relief in the short-term.

Stretches. There are various stretches you can do daily to help heal and prevent heel spurs. If you are a runner, it's a particularly good idea to incorporate the stretches into your routine before and after you run. Instead of having a go at these stretches yourself, ensure that a podiatrist walks you through the stretches first to ensure you have correct form and to prevent any further pain. Then you'll have the information you need to incorporate the stretches into your own life.

Cold compress. One of the effects of heel spurs is inflammation, and although a cold compress won't help with the bone protrusion itself, it certainly can help with associated inflammation and reduce the swelling. The good news is that a cold compress is something risk-free and that you can use at home. It is easy to purchase cold compress gel packs to freeze at most pharmacies. If you can't find these, a frozen water bottle wrapped in a tea towel can work. Apply these regularly to the site of the pain, and you should feel some degree of pain relief.

If the pain continues to increase over time, your podiatrist may recommend treatments for more extreme cases, such as steroid injections, which work by numbing the discomfort. As a last case scenario, surgery could be an option where the heel spur is physically removed from the foot.