Your Knife-like Heel Pain May Be A Sign Of Heel Spurs
It shouldn't hurt to get to your feet in the morning or walk throughout your day, but if your steps result in stabbing or aching pain in one or both heels, you may be suffering from heel spurs. Also known as calcaneal spurs or osteophytes, heel spurs are pointed, hooked or shelf-shaped calcium build-ups on the heel bone (calcaneus). While the spurs, themselves, do not sense pain, their tendency to prod the soft, fatty tissues of the heel can result in severe discomfort with every step you take. This article will teach you what you need to know about heel spurs so that you can understand your symptoms and find fast relief from your pain.
What Do Heel Spurs Feel Like?
Heel spurs result in a jabbing or aching sensation on or under the heel bone. The pain is often worst when you first arise in the morning and get to your feet. You may also experience pain when standing up after prolonged periods of sitting, such as work sessions at a desk or car rides. The discomfort may lessen after you spend several minutes walking, only to return later. Heel spurs can cause intermittent or chronic pain.
Who Is At Risk For Heel Spurs?
Though this syndrome is most common in individuals 40 years or older, it can occur at any age. The following factors increase the likelihood of heel spur development:
An uneven gait which applies too much pressure to certain areas of the foot
Wearing worn shoes or ill-fitting footwear
Job conditions that require long periods spent standing or lifting heavy objects
The normal aging process which results in a decrease in ligament elasticity
Why Do Heel Spurs Occur?
These bony protrusions are commonly found in association with a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia ligament, which spans the arch of the foot, becomes stressed, torn and inflamed. Misalignment and excessive movement of the plantar fascia ligament is most typically the result of an abnormal walking gait. The ligament is designed to stretch with the bounce of each step you take, but if it stretches too much, the resulting small tears and inflammation can cause mild to extreme discomfort. At the same time, it is believed that heel spurs are formed as the body attempts to provide some additional support to the over-stretched ligament. In other words, calcium builds up as a prop to the plantar fascia.
Why Do Heel Spurs Cause Pain?
If your body has created calcium build-ups in an effort to support your plantar fascia ligament, each time you step down with your foot, the heel spur is being driven into the soft, fatty tissue which lines the bottom of your heel. Heel spur sufferers experience stabbing sensations because the hard protrusion is literally being jabbed into the heel pad. If left untreated, Plantar Fasciitis and heel spurs can erode the fatty pad of the heel and cause permanent damage to the foot. Fortunately, most cases can be resolved without medications or surgeries.
How Are Heel Spurs Detected?
Sharp pain localized to the heel may be all a doctor needs to understand in order to diagnose the presence of heel spurs. However, you may also be sent to a radiologist for X-rays to confirm the presence of heel spurs.
How Can Heel Spurs Be Prevented?
If you have not yet developed this condition, you can take steps to protect yourself from it. Most importantly, make it a rule to wear properly fitted footwear. Avoid shoes that have become worn down in the heel, and don't choose shoes that cause you to walk in an abnormal fashion. Maintaining a healthy weight will ensure that undue pressure isn't being put on the ligaments, tendons and bones of your feet. If your job requires a great deal of time on your feet, or if you exercise regularly, be sure to balance periods of activity with periods of rest for your feet.
How Are Heel Spurs Treated?
In extreme cases, a doctor may recommend surgery for the removal of heel spurs. Fortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule. Most cases can be resolved with a combination of icing, rest, foot stretches and supporting the foot with an orthodic shoe insert specifically designed for this condition. We recommend that you continue on to our article on Heel Spur Treatment to discover the best, speediest and most affordable methods of resolving this ailment without invasive medical procedures.
You Don't Have To Live With The Pain Of Heel Spurs
Heel pain sufferers may put off seeking help because life is so busy or because they are putting the needs of others before their own. Remember that chronic pain is a constant drain on your overall health, vitality and mood. Given the fact that more than 90% of Plantar Fasciitis and heel pain sufferers experience relief within hours or days of starting to wear an affordable orthodic like HTP Heel Seats, there is no reason to keep putting up with the pain. By realigning the ligaments of the foot to a healthy position and re-cushioning the worn down fatty heel pad, HTP Heel Seats take the pressure off the heel spur protrusion and stimulate your body's natural ability to heal itself. Once they are out of pain, our customers report that they have been able to re-embrace life with the comfort and energy they lost through suffering from Plantar Fasciitis and heel spurs.