A heel spur is a condition wherein calcium gets deposited on the heel bone’s underside. A lot of people will have it at one point in their lives, although they may not know about it due to the absence of any symptom. When the tissues surrounding the calcium deposit become inflamed, that’s when heel spur pain happens.
The condition should not be mistaken for plantar fasciitis — the inflammation of the thick connective tissue (plantar fascia) that connects the heel bone to the bones forming the balls of the foot.
As earlier mentioned, the deposition of calcium on the heel bones is what causes a heel spur. There are numerous probable causes why this happens. Some of them include doing lots of jumping and running especially on hard surfaces, gait abnormalities, wearing of ill-fitting or worn out shoes that no longer provide good support, and being overweight. Experts say that age and diabetes are contributing factors as well.
Usually a heel spur does not bring about any symptom. If it does, the condition causes chronic pain that tends to be intermittent. This symptom of a heel spur is encountered while walking or running. According to sufferers, the pain felt in the morning upon arising is very sharp. Eventually as the day progresses, the pain becomes dull.
Surgical removal of the deposited calcium on the heel bone is one of the treatments for a heel spur. Fortunately, over 90% of people suffering from the condition find relief from pain through non-surgical treatments. Some of these conservative treatments include physical therapy, the use of special shoes or the insertion of orthotic devices in the footwear. The administration of painkillers is another non-surgical treatment option.
There are also all-natural remedies for a heel spur. You may want to try some of them if you prefer to skip the intake of medications for pain. They are the following:
- Ice pack. About 15 minutes before doing a physical activity, place an ice pack on the painful heel. Repeat as often as needed. The use of an ice pack helps reduce the inflammation of the tissues surrounding the calcium deposit, something which causes the pain experienced.
- Apple cider vinegar. Topical application of this sour liquid is said to be very effective in dissolving the calcium deposit causing a heel spur. Soak a piece of gauze in apple cider vinegar and place it over the affected heel. Secure it by tying it to the foot with a small towel or with the help of an elastic adhesive bandage. This home remedy is best paired with a lot of rest.
- Cabbage leaves. Known to have natural anti-inflammatory properties, securing cabbage leaves on the affected heel of the foot can get rid of the pain. Before applying, slightly heat the leaves to soften them. Replace the cabbage leaves with a new batch once the current batch is already withered.
- Baking soda. Adding a few drops of water to baking soda results in a paste that can help in relieving the pain brought about by a heel spur. Apply baking soda paste on the affected foot. Place a clean piece of gauze over it and secure with an elastic adhesive bandage or duct tape.
- Virgin coconut oil. Slightly warm some virgin coconut oil in the microwave. Prior to massaging on the affected heel, make sure that it’s not too hot in order to avoid scalding the skin. Once absorbed, virgin coconut oil is known to help dissolve calcium deposit on the heel as well as reduce inflammation and pain.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Thanks to the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, these health-friendly types of fat can help provide relief from heel spur pain. You may choose to take omega-3 supplements or simply consume oily fish rich in it such as sardines, wild salmon, tuna and trout.
- Flaxseed or linseed oil. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, any of these oils may be used to help deal with a heel spur. Dip a small piece of cloth or gauze in flaxseed or linseed oil and place over the affected foot. Secure it in place. Keep it warm by wrapping the foot in a small towel or plastic wrap.
- Alfalfa tea. Alfalfa is an herb known to deal with inflammation. A lot of people with heel spur swear by the efficacy of drinking alfalfa tea in reducing pain and swelling. Alfalfa tea is also packed with antioxidants that help fight off free radical damage as well as strengthen the immune system.