A heel spur is a bony overgrowth on the bottom portion of the heels and it is caused by repeated strain or injury in the soft structures in the heels. Direct physical trauma in the heels can also lead to a small bony overgrowth that is commonly painful. When the heel spur presses through the heel muscle or the plantar fascia, it can lead to more injury such as local inflammation and even plantar fasciitis. Nevertheless, heel spurs are rarely debilitating and some patients will never know that they have them, unless they go through radiographic examination of the foot.
Heel spurs are generally mild, and more advanced treatments are not even required. Home remedies are usually adequate to reduce the discomfort and pain and asymptomatic people don’t need treatment at all. If you have heel spurs and experiencing heel pain, here are some of the remedies that you can do at home to reduce your symptoms:
Once you felt pain on your heels, rest is the first remedy that you should employ. Relieving weight from the feet may help reduce pressure on the overlying soft structures. Avoid activities that aggravate the pain.
• Use of heel cushion
At home, you can elevate your affected leg in a donut shape pillow placing the heel on the hollow portion to prevent pressure from being placed on the heels.
Applying ice packs over the heel spur and painful area can help relieve pain or swelling. Apply ice packs for 15 minutes at most three times a day for better pain relief.
• Stretching the calf muscles
Stretching the calf muscles usually relaxes the tissues surrounding the heel. Exercises that increase the flexibility of the calf can help relieve tension on the heels and relieve pain on the area. Stretching should be done several times in a day, but pay special attention in the morning and when doing activities that employ sitting for prolonged periods.
• Deep tissue massage
If you are at home, you can also self-massage your foot paying attention on the surrounding areas of the heels.
• Use of arch support
Flat foot is a common cause for heel spurs because the heels receives too much stress. You can get some useful shoe inserts in order to support the arch of the foot and relieve weight on the heel spur.
• Complementary remedies
There are also various complementary remedies that you can do to help relieve pain. These may include hypnosis, acupuncture and guided imagery to help release stress and tension and subsequently provide general comfort.
• Herbal remedies
Most medications to relieve pain can be gastric irritants. In this line, various herbal preparations can be used as pain relief remedies without the untoward side-effects. Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory herb. Prepare ginger tea by boiling a piece of ginger for 15 minutes in two cups of water. Drink the decoction three times daily. Another herbal preparation that is effective for heel spurs is the use of turmeric. Take 400 to 600 mg of turmeric three times a day.
When pain does not subside for a couple of weeks, be sure to consult a health care provider as this may signify a more significant condition on the foot.