Heel spurs are calcified growths at the insertion point of major pieces of connective tissue that can make it difficult to walk or move around. They are sometimes painful. However, you may not always notice them right away. You can have a heel spur and not be aware of it, or you might associate the spur with your heel pain and call it plantar fasciitis!
What Are Heel Spurs?
Heel spurs, or bone spurs, are small, bony growths that develop over time. They occur at the bottom of your heel, where your heel connects with your plantar fascia. A lot of time, people don’t realize they have heel spurs until they start to develop pain as a result.
Heel spurs can develop as a response to inflammation or stress to the area. Your body’s natural reaction to stress is to build up extra tissue, but this can lead to even further pain in the area when the tissue surrounding the heel spur becomes agitated. Any spur on the body is usually due to what is called ‘dysplasia’. Dysplasia is when one type of tissue converts to another instead.
In the case of heel spurs, the tissue should just be more connective tissue, but it fills with calcification and becomes a spur instead. This is adaptive and generally allows the body to redistribute forces as a compensation for some other condition.
What Causes Heel Spurs?
The stress that leads to bone spurs can be the result of strained muscles or ligaments, torn membranes, and commonly, inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. Some people have autoimmune conditions that cause the formation of spurs throughout the body. If you have a considerable amount of chronic inflammation and the deposition of advanced glycation end products from too much blood glucose, spurs might also form.
Other factors that can lead to symptomatic heel spurs include gait abnormalities, wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly, obesity, age, and other foot conditions. Spurs are often mistaken as the source of pain on the bottom of the heel, but sometimes the spur is not the true source. You may have heel spurs as a result of plantar fasciitis, but not realize it because you associate the heel pain with plantar fasciitis.
Or you may simply have plantar fasciitis and it coexists with a painless spur. This is why it’s important to speak with your physician to determine the root cause of your pain. Heel spurs are commonly diagnosed with x-rays.
Relieve Heel Spur Pain
Heel spurs can be painful, but there are a number of ways you can reduce your pain at home. Allowing a sufficient amount of rest between exercises can help reduce pressure and stress to your heel. You can also ice the bottom of your feet, especially after activity, to reduce inflammation and pain.
You may lean toward non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen for pain relief. However, NSAIDs can have negative side effects that outweigh the benefits. That’s why Dr. Warner developed her supplement brand, Well Theory, to make natural pain relief more accessible.
Tart Cherry Extract is a popular Well Theory supplement that works in much the same way as NSAIDs to reduce inflammation. The beauty of natural anti inflammatories is that they have far fewer side effects. Tart cherry extract can prevent inflammation that can cause heel spurs - so you can reduce your risk of developing them.
Dr. Warner’s Joint Health Multi is another powerful anti-inflammatory supplement. It’s a unique combination of turmeric, ginger, PEA and black pepper extract. Our Joint Health Multi and Tart Cherry Extract are commonly taken together for maximum pain relief.
The Healing Sole can also reduce your symptoms of plantar fasciitis, which can in turn potentially prevent heel spurs. If you’re already suffering from heel spurs, then the rocker bottom sole and other features can still provide a gentle stretch, while reducing pressure to painful areas of the foot.