Heel pain can be sharp and hit you when you first get up in the morning or can be a throbbing discomfort. The pain can be chronic or can flare up with activities like running or walking.
A heel spur can be the cause of your heel pain. A heel spur is a calcium deposit that grows slowly as a small bony protrusion on the bottom of the heel bone. Only about ½” long, you may have a heel spur without any symptoms or it can be so painful that it can interfere with your normal activities.
Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia that runs along the bottom of your foot.
What Causes Heel Spurs?
When the plantar fascia is over-stretched, a heel spur may be the result. Heel spurs can also be caused by straining foot ligaments or muscles or by repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone.
You may have a higher risk of heel spurs if you:
Run on hard surfaces
Wear worn-out shoes
Wear shoes that are improperly fitted
Have high arches
Have flat feet
Enjoy sports that have a lot of running or jumping
Stand for long periods on hard surfaces
Another cause of heel spurs is aging, as the heel’s natural protective fat pad thins and the plantar fascia loses some flexibility.
How To Treat Heel Spurs
Rest your foot if you have heel pain, but if resting is not enough come in for a visit. We will first try noninvasive treatments including:
Switching shoes to sturdy styles with extra cushioning and shock absorption
Gentle stretching exercises for the heel and foot and especially the calf muscles
Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications, with your doctor’s permission
Corticosteroid injections to ease inflammation
In severe cases where conservative treatments are of little help, we will discuss surgery to remove the bone spur and release the plantar fascia.
You Don’t Have To Live with Heel Pain
Foot or toe pain is not normal! If you have heel pain or plantar fasciitis, discomfort from arthritis, an injury or just from overuse, please call Michele Kurlanski, DPM at Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Kurlanski offers expert and professional podiatry services in Cumberland County, Maine. Please call us today at 207-774-0028 to schedule your appointment in our Scarborough office.