Don’t let yourself be spurred on. How to cure heel pain? | Healthy life | Health

Summer weather beckons even stay-at-homes for fresh air. But when every step hurts, there is no time for walking. Where does a heel spur come from and how to deal with it?

Our experts:

Executive Director of the Association of Medical Centers and Doctors “League of Podiatry” Olga Chizhevskaya;

traumatologist, chiropractor, professor of the Department of Sports Medicine and Medical Rehabilitation of Sechenov University, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Doctor of Osteopathy, Academician of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the Russian Federation and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Editor-in-Chief of the scientific and practical journal “Podiatry” Vladimir Frolov.

There are many causes of pain in the foot – for example, tunnel syndrome or Achilles tendonitis. However, in 75% of cases, heel pain is caused by plantar (plantar) fasciitis, which is called a heel spur.

Spur question

If, after getting out of bed in the morning, at the very first steps you feel severe pain in the foot, but then you gradually “walk around” and the pain disappears after a few minutes, this is probably the same heel spur syndrome. Another sign: the pain intensifies if you press on the heel with your fingers or bend the big toe.

On examination, a podiatrist (foot specialist) or orthopedist will identify the painful area, and an x-ray will show the growth on the front of the heel bone (osteophyte). This spike is caused by calcium deposits. To obtain a complete picture of the disease, MRI and ultrasound may be prescribed.

Many believe that the source of pain is the spur itself. But the spur does not hurt, since there are no nerve endings in the bone tissue. In addition, it is formed in order to alleviate pain, that is, it serves as a protection for the periosteum.

The true cause of heel pain is osteophytes, which form as a result of chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia, a bundle of muscle fibers that connects the heel bone to the bases of the fingers. The task of this structure is to absorb the shock load when walking. But due to various circumstances, the plantar fascia can be overloaded, which leads to inflammation.

What to Avoid

What causes heel spurs to develop?

Excess weight. Causes an unnatural load distribution on the foot.

Passive lifestyle. It weakens the muscles and ligaments of the foot, reduces its spring function, which leads to the usual microtrauma of the musculoskeletal system.

Excessive sports. So, running loads various muscles and ligaments of the foot. In violation of the biomechanics of the foot, the plantar fascia can be subjected to microtrauma, which causes an inflammatory reaction. Tennis, basketball, volleyball are accompanied by numerous shock jumps. Figure skating landing on hard ice is also at risk. Dangerous and heavy athletics.

Wearing uncomfortable shoes. Both models with thin soles (sneakers, ballet flats, slates, flip flops) and stilettos or high platform shoes are harmful. The constant tension of the muscles of the foot does not go unnoticed.

Long-term vertical load. It is faced by people whose activities involve a long stay on their feet.

There are also objective risk factors, for example, foot deformity (in particular, flat feet), which leads to improper distribution of the load and overstrain of the plantar fascia. The second factor is pregnancy. Weight gain and hormonal changes may increase the risk of developing flat feet and plantar fasciitis.

Take action!

In the treatment of heel spurs, in some cases it is enough to eliminate the irritating factor.

  • Reduce stress on your feet. Adjust the training regimen, limit the transfer of weights.
  • Lose weight. Every kilogram of excess weight increases the load on the feet.
  • Eliminate a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity should be increased gradually. The focus is on strengthening the muscles of the foot.
  • Conduct a shoe inspection. Prefer shoes that support the arch of the foot well, use orthopedic insoles.
  • Usually doctors are distrustful of folk remedies. But heel spurs are the exception.
  • Ice compresses reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • Salt foot baths to relieve swelling (for 1 liter of water 2-3 tablespoons of salt). You need to hold your feet in the water for 15 minutes, and then take a contrast shower.

Physiotherapeutic methods, such as shock wave therapy, are also effective. In complex treatment, sonophoresis is used – a method of administering drugs using ultrasound. In exceptional cases, surgical treatment is used – partial fasciotomy.

But medicines, in particular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can be used only as directed by a doctor. Some over-the-counter pills can relieve pain, but should not be used without supervision.


Orthopedic insoles reduce pain and slow down degenerative changes. Orthoses redistribute the load, reducing pressure on the feet, activate more muscles. Full contact orthopedic insoles, which are made individually, are more effective in preventing recurrence of the disease. They are made of thermoplastic materials that can take the shape of the foot when heated.

Gymnastics for the prevention of osteophyte

Exercise 1. Stand against a wall at arm’s length. Place one foot slightly behind the other, both feet on the floor. Put your hands on the wall. Straighten the knee of the back leg, bend the front leg slightly. Feel the tension. Hold this position for 15 seconds, then switch legs.

Exercise 2. Sit on a chair and roll with one or the other foot an MFR roll or a one and a half liter bottle of ice water.

Exercise 3. Before getting out of bed, lie on your back, take a folded towel in your hands, rest your feet on it and pull your toes towards you for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise several times.


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