Heel Spur Treatment: How Custom Orthotics Can Help
As you go through life, you will find that there are a number of different foot conditions that can occur. Some of these will go away on their own and are more of a nuisance than anything else. But there are a few of these conditions that tend to stick around and will cause a lot of pain and discomfort until you decide to do something about them.
One issue that you can encounter as the tie goes on is known as a heel spur. A heel spur is a type of bony growth that will start to poke out right below the bone in the back of the heel, inside the foot. It is most likely to happen when you add too much stress to the ligaments of the foot. You may not notice the problem until you seek out help for the heel pain.
While heel spurs can’t be healed, you can consider a pair of custom orthotics, as they can be a good treatment to provide some relief from the pain, without making the heel spur worse. Let’s look more at how a custom orthotic could be the best part of your treatment plan when you are dealing with heel spurs.
What are Heel Spurs?
A heel spur is a type of bony growth that is able to poke out right from the bottom of the heel, usually in the area where the heel bone will connect to the ligament between the hall of the foot and the heel. It is estimated that 15% of people will have an issue with heel spurs and it may be severe enough to affect their daily lives.
It is common that you will have the heel spur develop as time goes on. It is also possible to have a heel spur and not realize it is a problem for you until you go in for heel pain. While surgery can remove the heel spur, this can be invasive and painful. This leads most doctors to consider options like orthotics to ease the pain instead.
While heel spurs may seem similar to plantar fasciitis, these two conditions are different. Heel spurs happen due to stress and inflammation caused by the plantar fascia tendon. This inflammation causes extra bone tissue to be built up in the heel, resulting in a heel spur. Plantar fasciitis is when the plantar fascia tendon becomes inflamed at the bottom of the foot, and can be the cause of heel spurs.
What Causes a Heel Spur?
Now that we know more about heel spurs, it is time to take a look at what can cause them. Heel spurs are going to be the response in the body to strain and stress placed on the ligaments and tendons of the foot. If you have another foot condition like plantar fasciitis, the body may come up with a response of heel spurs to help try to handle it.
It is also possible to develop a heel spur when you constantly tear the covering that lines the heel bone or if you have a disorder in how you walk. The more that you walk that way without some kind of corrective treatment, the worse the condition can get, and the more the heel spur is going to hurt.
Treatment Options for Heel Spurs
Once a medical professional has diagnosed that you are suffering from heel spurs, usually through an x-ray, there are a few different treatments that they can recommend to help out with the condition.
Some Treatment Options for Heel Spurs Include:
- Using ice or a cold pack. This can reduce some of the inflammation and give you a break from the heel pain.
- Resting the heel, especially, has some intense activity.
- Taking painkillers, specifically a kind that is anti-inflammatory.
- Wearing the proper footwear or choosing a custom orthotic that will help to provide support to the arches and can protect the plantar fascia so you feel less pain.
- Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis
- Physical Therapy
Your doctor will be able to work with you to discuss which treatment options seem to be the best, giving you some relief and ensuring that you are able to feel good and not have to deal with the pain for a long time. There are several other treatment options, such as night splints, shockwave therapy, and cortisone injections, but most patients with plantar fasciitis and heel spurs improve within a year of starting simple treatments.
Why to Pursue Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis, Instead of Heel Spur Treatment
Generally speaking, heel spurs are not the cause of foot pain, and doctors will recommend treating symptoms, like the aforementioned inflammation and stress put on the heel bone, caused by plantar fasciitis. When plantar fasciitis is treated, the heel spur will usually become obsolete when it comes to causes of pain in the foot.
90% of patients see improvement within a year just by stretching, wearing more appropriate footwear, or seeing a physical therapist for the problem. Rarely, the heel spur may require surgical intervention, if the inflammation in the foot was left untreated for an extended amount of time.
How Custom Orthotics Help with Heel Spurs
One of the best treatments that you can choose when suffering from heel spurs that will not give you any relief, without having to rely on surgery or other invasive options, is to go with a pair of custom orthotics. These custom orthotics can be nice because they are designed to meet the unique needs of your foot, providing support and comfort where you need it most.
When you get a pair of custom orthotics, you will be able to find some relief from the pain that bone spurs are going to cause you.
Some of the benefits of custom orthotics for bone spurs include:
- Decrease the pain and pressure; Many patients with bone spurs found that wearing a pair of orthotics, especially if they were custom orthotics, was able to ease some of the pressure that was put on the foot affected by the bone spur. With the pressure released a bit, the amount of pain they felt was diminished.
- Decreased swelling; The custom orthotic will help you to reduce how much swelling is found in the affected foot. This can provide a bit of relief and may even make some of the pain go away as well.
- Improved range of motion: Many patients who choose to add some custom orthotics to their shoes noticed that they felt that their range of motion was improved. When they were able to get some of the relief discussed above, the pain would be reduced and their movements would be easier with less discomfort as well.
- Fast symptom relief: In one study done on heel spurs, it was found that wearing a pair of custom orthotics was able to provide quick relief of pain from bone spurs, regardless of how long the patient had dealt with the issue. In fact, the relief was there after just three months.
For those who have dealt with bone spurs for a long time, it can seem like you are stuck with the pain and just have to live with it, with no relief in sight. This can be disheartening and may make you worry about your mobility in the future. The good news is that a pair of custom orthotics can provide you with some of the relief you need.
Seeing Your Doctor About Your Heel Spurs is the Best Way to Treat Them
If you are dealing with the pain and discomfort of heel spurs, it is time to work with a doctor to handle some of the issues and to ensure that you are able to get some of the relief that you need. A pair of custom orthotics could be the best option to provide you with some relief, and help you feel so much better.
Our team will be able to work with you when you suffer from heel pain. We will complete a comprehensive exam and can discuss the full treatment plan, including custom orthotics, to make sure that you are getting the right treatment to reduce pain and discomfort. Give us a call today, or leave your contact information, to see how we can help you with your heel spurs.