Since a chronic, piercing pain in the heel can make life miserable, anyone suffering from it would want to find a heel spur treatment that REALLY works.
Heel spurs might be caused due to heavy load to or due to injury to the plantar fascia. Whatever the cause, any effective heel spur treatment is aimed at lessening the stress to the tissues at the arch of the foot and providing relief from the accompanying inflammation.
• Determine the exact cause: Heel spurs do not occur without any reason but since they are not caused by a serious injury, the patient may find it difficult to recall why he started developing a spur in the first place. Try to pinpoint the exact cause after which the pain appeared- it could be a new exercise regime, change in the existing program, jogging or exercising on a hard surface, trying a new pair of shoes, persisting with a worn out pair of shoes or a new and more strenuous job. Identify the exact cause that has led to a deformity in your bone and once you know the exact cause, make an effort to discontinue the activity which is causing discomfort. If you can not discontinue it altogether, try to modify it after consulting your doctor.
• Keep off activities which aggravate the condition: Climbing the stairs frequently, lifting heavy items, squatting for long periods of time at a stretch, walking or running on hard or uneven surfaces intensifies the pain. For an effective heel spur treatment, desist from such activities as far as possible. Try to bring down the number of times you climb your staircase, try running on softer surfaces like grass or a muddy track. Avoid carrying heavy loads and if you must squat, keep the affected foot in front and place it flat.
• Change your exercise regime: Instead of running the tread mill, try the cross trainer. Try cycling or swimming till your heel gets better. While cycling also, take care to avoid dropping the heel, standing posture while cycling and taking to the hills. Most walkers scoff at the idea of a stationery bike at the gym, but this might be necessary to cure the heel spur. Anyways, your heel spur is not going to last forever! Once your heel gets better, you can get back to life as usual.
• Shed weight: If you are overweight, shedding a few extra pounds will benefit you immensely, since a heavier body exerts more weight on the feet and getting rod of the flab will lessen the stress caused to plantar fascia and thereby provide relief from heel spur.
• Ice pack: Freeze a can of juice or any rounded water bottle and keep it on the floor. Roll your foot over the frozen bottle or can for at least twenty minutes. Repeat this two times a day.
• Contrast bath for the foot: If the inflammation in the foot is chronic, try a contrasting hot and cold bath. Begin with applying an ice pack on the heel and the arch of the foot for five minutes and then dip it in hot water for five minutes. Alternate between the two for half an hour and repeat this every alternate day. This helps improve blood circulation to the affected area and has been known to benefit lots of people with heel spurs.
• Stretching exercises: If the pain is more acute in the mornings, keep a towel or a belt next to you while sleeping. Before stepping out of the bed, wrap the belt/ towel around your heel and pull the foot towards yourself, keeping the leg straight. The pull thus exerted on the back of the calf extends right down to the arch of the foot and helps in heel spur treatment.
• Rolling a ball: Roll any soft ball (e.g. tennis or rubber ball) and roll your foot over it for some time. This helps to stretch out the plantar fascia. However, do not carry on with this if it causes pain.
• Wearing supportive shoes: A good pair of shoes should not bend into half when folded from the toe. If it does, the shoes are not supportive. A good pair of shoes should only bend at the toes. Wear only supportive shoes while running to get rid of heel spurs.
• Wearing orthotics: Wearing orthotics can also help in heel spur treatment. Semi-rigid pre-fabricated orthotics available in the market under various brand names can help lessen the stress caused on plantar fascia, and thus help in curing pain caused by heel spurs. Semi-rigid orthotics fit snugly into the shoe and control the motion of the feet, thereby bringing down the strain on the over-worked muscles. Though softer inserts are also available, they might not be as helpful since they will not be able to control the abnormal motion in the feet.
• Night splints: Try keeping your foot tied up in a splint all night such that it holds the foot at an angle of 90o. Doing so keeps the calf muscles stretched all night long and though you might not be able to sleep comfortably while wearing such splints, they can prove quite helpful in treating heel spurs.
Besides the above, simple exercises which help to strengthen the muscles of the feet can also prove very beneficial. If none of the above helps, surgery might be required for heel spur treatment.