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How to Cure a Heel Spur

Updated November 21, 2016

Heel spurs project from the underside of the back of the heel and create pain when you walk. The spurs are the result of inflammation in the Achilles tendon. When you have spurs under the sole of your foot this is the result of inflammation of the bowstring-like tissue, or the plantar fascia, that runs from the heel underneath the sole to the front of the foot. When you step down on the heel of your foot, the pain gets worse. When a person is suffering from heel spurs or plantar fasciitis this is the result of the force that is exerted on the body when walking.

Elevate your heel with a heel lift that is 3/8 of an inch, or wearing shoes that have a higher heel or wedged heel. When you elevate the heel, you are reducing the tension on the foot and heel and the elevation also changes the angle of the foot and the way it strikes the ground, altering the way the load is supported.

Stretch your calves. The calf muscles enable the foot to bend back easily, so if the calves are stretched and flexible there is less tension on the foot bottom, when you are walking or running. A good way to stretch your calves is to stand in front of a wall, placing your hands on the wall. Now step back with your right foot. Bend the left leg, but do not bend the extended right leg. Make sure that your right foot is flat on the floor. You are in a lunge position. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Apply athletic tape to the bottom of the foot, from the toes to the heel. This will reduce tension because the tape prevents the fascia from stretching. You can place another strip of tape around the arch of your foot at a 90-degree angle, to help keep the bottom strips connected. This will help distribute the tension more effectively. Don't come up too high on the back of the heel with the tape, because the skin in this area needs to be able to stretch when you are walking. Stretch your calf muscles immediately after you apply the tape to your feet.

Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medication to reduce swelling and pain. You can also apply anti-inflammatory topical medications that reduce inflammation.

Consider shockwave therapy for treating heels spurs. An acoustic wave of energy is aimed at the painful area and the shock waves create micro-trauma to this area, which then stimulates a focused and intense inflammatory response, which prompts healing.

Lose weight. When you are overweight you are far more likely to experience heel spurs, particularly if you are a woman. Fat deposits lower on a woman's body than it does on a man's which lowers a woman's centre of gravity. This results in too much tension in the plantar fasciitis, particularly if there isn't good flexibility in the calf muscles.

Ice your foot after you have been active. Ice will reduce swelling and pain.

Wear arch supports in your shoes.

Consider surgery. A new surgical technique was invented by Dr. Steve Barret of Spring, Texas, and is called Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy or EPF. This procedure reduces the risk of complications.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice
  • Athletic tape
  • Arch supports
  • Elevated heels
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine and topical cream
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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.