Heel spurs are a common foot condition that occurs when calcium builds up on the underside of the heel, resulting in a bony spur. This condition is extremely painful and can make it difficult to exercise or even walk. When pressure is placed on the heel, the spur digs into the heel pad, causing a shooting or stabbing sensation. While there are medical treatments available for heel spurs, most resolve on their own over time. To speed up recovery, there are many remedies you can try at home to reduce the size of the spur and alleviate pain.
One of the best things that you can do for the heel spur is to rest it. If you notice that a heel spur has formed, reduce your activity levels. Put as little pressure on it as possible and avoid high-impact activities like running or jumping. At night, elevate the affected foot so that it can heal. Do not wear constricting shoes or socks, which can irritate the spur. More than likely, anything that causes pressure on the heel will cause enough pain to remind you not to do it. It is important to listen to this signal from your body and give your heel plenty of rest.
Heel spurs have a lot in common with planar fasciitis and often occur simultaneously, so the treatment for the two conditions is very similar. One of these similar treatments is using ice to relieve pain and tenderness. The best way to apply ice is to freeze a bottle of water. Then, set the bottle on the ground and roll it back and forth with your foot while seated. Do this for 20 minutes at least three times a day. While this may seem like treatment for the arch, the muscle that runs under your foot is the same muscle affected by heel spurs, so it relieves the pain in your heel.
Although most people turn to NSAIDs for headaches, these over-the-counter pain relievers are also excellent for foot pain. NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, reduce swelling and pain throughout the body. With heel spurs, these drugs can reduce the pain felt when the spur digs into the heel, as well as swelling of the plantar fascia. NSAIDs are available at most pharmacies and grocery stores. If you take other prescriptions, you should consult your physician before taking NSAIDs. However, for most people, these medications will provide quick relief from heel spur pain.
Epsom salt is made from magnesium sulfate, so it contains the same anti-inflammatory properties at magnesium. That makes it an excellent remedy for heel spurs. Fill a foot bath with warm water and add one cup of Epsom salt. Then, soak for your foot for 15-20 minutes, gently rubbing the area around the spur. This will help to break up the calcium deposits and loosen the muscles and tendons in your foot. Doing this twice a day will help your heel spur to heal quickly and will reduce the amount of pain felt during the recovery time.
Stretching can be a good way to relieve the pain caused by heel spurs. There are many exercises that you can do that will stretch the plantar fascia. One of the most common is to lean forward with your hands on a wall, supporting most of your weight. Your feet should be positioned as though you were about to start a race, with one knee bent. Then, push off gently with the other foot, stretching the arch of your foot. Exercise bands may also be beneficial, as they help you to apply resistance without putting pressure directly on the heel itself.
For those with heel spurs, any remedy is worth trying. That's why many people use apple cider vinegar to dissolve the spurs. The vinegar acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, and over time it can completely dissolve calcium buildups. There are several ways to use apple cider vinegar to treat your heel spurs, but a popular method is to soak a small cloth or towel in vinegar and place it under your heel, inside the shoe. This will allow the vinegar to work all day and can help to reduce pain. On days when you do not wear shoes, you can also soak a towel in apple cider vinegar that has been diluted with equal parts water, and then wrap the towel around your foot.
Baking soda is another common home remedy for heel spurs. Its chemical properties help it to dissolve the calcium deposits around the spur over time, making it one of the most effective treatments. To use, mix just a pinch of baking soda with water, forming a thick paste. Apply this paste to the heel spur and wrap with a sterile bandage. After 20 minutes, remove the bandage and rinse off the baking soda with warm water. This treatment should be completed at least twice each day. Over time, the heel spur will disappear completely, but in the meantime, the baking soda should help with inflammation and pain.
Coconut oil can soften the skin around heel spurs, which can, in turn, reduce pain and inflammation. Over time, it may even soften the spurs themselves. The best way to use coconut oil is to apply a small amount to the heels and arches, rubbing it into the skin gently. You should leave the coconut oil on overnight for it to have time to work. In the morning, wash your feet with warm, soapy water. This will remove all of the residue, but it will be after all the beneficial nutrients and moisture have already been absorbed.
If you have heel spurs, it is likely uncomfortable to walk or stand. Most people must continue to work and go about their lives even if they have spurs, so it is important to find ways to cope with the condition and reduce pain. Investing in a pair of soft shoes with arch support, or even a good pair of insoles will make walking with heel spurs more bearable. Many pharmacies even sell special insoles designed for heel spurs, which have cushions that have been specially designed to protect the spur area from pain and aid in fast healing.
Because most heel spurs are related to plantar fasciitis, taping the plantar fascia muscle may help to reduce pain and promote healing. Kinesiology tape is a very popular choice since it has been shown to reduce inflammation and promote proper blood flow. Other athletic tapes can also be used. The purpose of taping is to provide support for the plantar fascia, especially when it is not being supported properly by a specialized shoe or insole. This relieves pressure on the heel spur, helping to resolve the pain. It is important to tape the foot properly for this technique to work, however, so be sure to consult the directions before trying it yourself.
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