Heel spurs are a health issue which causes the development of a bony-like expansion, known as a calcium deposit, which develops between the heel bone and arch. Heel spurs generally begin in the front of the heel and may affect other regions of the foot. They’re generally about a quarter of an inch in length and they may not necessarily be visible to the naked eye.
Diagnosing heel spurs can be challenging for healthcare professionals because these don’t necessarily trigger painful symptoms and not all heel pain is associated with heel spurs. The purpose of the following article is to discuss the symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention of heel spurs as well as their association with radiating pain and sciatica symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Heel Spurs?
Common symptoms of heel spurs may include pain, discomfort, swelling, and inflammation in the front of the heel. Alongside the painful symptoms previously described, the affected region may also feel warm to the touch. The painful symptoms can also radiate or spread to the back of the foot. Over time, a small bony protrusion may become observable to the naked eye.
Some heel spurs may also cause no painful symptoms. However, approximately 50 percent of people with heel spurs will experience heel pain. Some heel spurs may also not result in any changes to the bones or soft tissues surrounding the heel. Moreover, the painful symptoms may affect an individual’s gait and posture, causing compensation which can ultimately result in a variety of other health issues. A spinal misalignment, or subluxation, may cause low back pain and sciatica.
Heel spurs are frequently diagnosed utilizing X-rays and other clinical evaluations for foot health issues. Heel spurs are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to other types of heel pain. It’s fundamental to visit a healthcare professional to receive a proper diagnosis. The healthcare professional can then diagnose a heel spur utilizing X-rays.
What are the Causes of Heel Spurs?
Heel spurs are caused by long-term muscle and ligament strain. The excess strain can affect the soft tissues of the heel and wear them out. Heel spurs generally develop over an extended period of time and often after the individual ignores early signs, such as heel pain. Repetitive pressure from walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces is a common cause of heel spurs. These may also develop from wearing shoes which don’t properly support the foot. Heel spurs may also be caused by:
- Bruising of the heel
- Excess body weight
- Poorly fitted shoes
- Walking gait problems
- Using flip-flops too often
- Worn-out shoes
What is the Treatment for Heel Spurs?
Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment approaches for heel spurs. Treatment choices for heel spurs can include:
- Cold compresses. Applying ice packs after exercise and/or physical activity may be especially beneficial.
- Anti-inflammatory injections. This helps alleviate pain and inflammation in the heel of the foot and arch.
- Over-the-counter pain drugs and/or medications. These could include acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
- Chiropractic care and physical therapy. These, alongside stretches and exercise, can help improve symptoms.
- Rest. It is essential to rest the feet after standing or engaging in physical activities for an extended period of time.
- Orthotic shoe inserts. These may help provide you arch support.
Healthcare professionals may recommend surgery as a last resort if other alternative treatment options don’t help improve heel spurs. This surgical intervention involves the removal of the heel spur. Sometimes it also involves releasing the plantar fascia muscle. Heel spur surgery can reduce painful symptoms and help boost mobility in the foot. Due to the safety and effectiveness of other alternative treatment options, surgery is generally not recommended for the treatment of heel spurs.
Heel spurs are characterized as a degenerative outgrowth of bone on the calcaneus, or the heel bone. Although heel spurs may be commonly associated with heel pain and discomfort, not all cases of heel spurs cause painful symptoms. Long-term stress and/or pressure can cause heel spurs. Heel spurs can also cause low back pain and sciatica. Because of the altered gait during heel strike and foot-off due to the painful symptoms, heel spurs can cause hip imbalances and compensation health issues. Spinal misalingments, or subluxations, due to altered posture can ultimately cause low back pain and sciatica. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
Low Back Pain
The purpose of the article is to understand how heel spurs can be associated with sciatica and other symptoms. Sciatica is a collection of symptoms characterized by pain, tingling sensation, and numbness. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topic Discussion: Foot Orthotics
Low back pain and sciatica are common health issues which affect many individuals worldwide. However, did you know that chronic pain may be due to foot problems? Health issues originating in the foot may ultimately cause imbalances in the spine, such as poor posture, which can cause the well-known symptoms of low back pain and sciatica. Custom foot orthotics, individually designed with 3-arch support can help promote overall health and wellness by supporting and promoting good posture and correcting foot problems. Custom foot orthotics can ultimately help improve low back pain and sciatica.
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