How is a painful heel or calcaneal spur treated?


Quick Answer

Heel spur pain generally comes from plantar fasciitis, or irritation of the plantar fascia (the tissue band that runs along the bottom of the foot, supporting the ball), and treatment involves options ranging from ice and rest, to orthotic inserts and physical therapy. Surgery is quite rare, notes WebMD.

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Full Answer

Heel (calcaneal) spurs are calcium deposits that grow on the bottom of the heel bone, and they can grow as much as a half inch. They cause pain in the plantar fascia. Strains on muscles and ligaments in the foot, chronic tearing of the membrane covering the heel bone and stretching of the plantar fascia lead to the development of heel spurs. Athletes who take part in sports involving a lot of jumping and running are particularly susceptible, according to WebMD.

Stretching exercises focusing on the calf and plantar fascia often ease the pain. Doctors also recommend treatments such as well-fitting shoes, strapping or taping to rest tendons and muscles, orthotic devices such as sleeping splints, shoe inserts and physical therapy. Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as naproxen, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are helpful short-term therapies, along with ice and rest. About 90 percent of people suffering from heel spur pain improve without surgery, which is why doctors are not likely to consider an operation unless nonsurgical remedies have failed for up to a year, as stated by WebMD.

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