If you have the problem known as Heel Spurs and you want to know how it is treated, let’s firstly dispel a myth about where your pain is coming from. It is actually not the spur that is causing the pain. The problem is in the inelastic structure, called the Plantar Fascia ligament, which is connected at the heel and runs under your foot,all the way to the toes.
Plantar Fasciitis is the name of the condition where the Plantar Fascia has suffered micro-tearing or is overstretched.
The cause of the condition
The cause of Plantar Fasciitis,and the heel spurs that develop as a result, is in the motion of the foot when walking, running or moving around. If the foot rolls inward, it lowers the arch of the foot down, which overstretches the inelasticPlantar Fascia and causes micro tearing.
When this occurs, a heel spur develops under the rear foot area to compensate for the support that would otherwise have come from the ligament. Most podiatric surgeons will not operate to remove a spur as they know that this is not the cause of the problem. If the cause is not treated, the removed spur commonly grows back again within about 6 months.
The most effective and common treatment for both the conditions of Plantar Fasciitis and heel spurs is to treat the cause of the problem, which in 98% of cases is the rear foot rolling in. This is addressed by the use of an orthotic device. Placed in the shoes, the orthotic builds up extra support in the area where it is needed.
Rather than using an arch-based device that would push up into the Fascia itself, the key is to use a rear foot/heel device, to limit how much the heel can roll in. This is the most effective way of treating Plantar Fasciitis.
There are a few other matters that are connected to this condition, so we’ll suggest a few things here that can assist the healing process, which can take 10 to 15 weeks, on average.
Tight calf muscles: Often those who suffer from heel spurs are also experiencing tight calf muscles. For this we recommend certain stretches that will help strengthen and support the calf muscles.
Ice: Icing doesn’t stop the rolling cascade in the foot, but it reduces inflammation, which helps the area to chill out and gain more strength while resting.
Activity reduction: Because the condition is caused by prolonged or excessive strain on the Plantar Fascia ligament, it is necessary to give the area some relief and allow it to heal itself. Therefore, limiting the amount of sport or walking you are doing, or generally staying off your feet more often, is an important part of the process.
Because there is not a lot of blood flow to the ligament, the cells there cannot repair themselves so rapidly. So a bit of TLC is needed to help your foot bounce back to its old self.
There are a couple of other suggestions we could make to help your condition, but essentially the most important thing is to limit the rear of the foot from rolling in and give it rest when it needs it to heal.
If you’d like to know more, please do call the Heel Clinic on (02) 9199 8754 and we’d be happy to help you with an appropriate orthotic device, treatment or advice. You might enjoy our next blog post which goes into more detail on are the most common causes of Plantar Fasciitis.