Heel Spurs Treatment from Milwaukee Foot Specialists
Heel Spurs Cause Bottom of Heel Pain
Heel spurs are abnormal calcium deposits located on the heel bone. They are usually accompanied by heel pain, but not always. In most cases, patients experience pain on the side or back of the heel.
Heel Spur Symptoms
If you have a heel spur, you’re most likely to notice it right when you get out of bed in the morning. Patients have referred to it as a “toothache in the foot.” Out of all the heel spur symptoms, the most common one our Milwaukee foot specialists hear is a knife-like pain in the bottom of the foot after getting out of bed. Later, there is a dull, persistent ache. Even after resting, this type of heel pain will return when normal activity resumes.
You might be able to detect a heel spur if you run your hand along the bottom of your foot. You should be able to feel something hard even if you can’t see a swelling or protrusion.
Heel Spur Causes
Heel spurs are extremely common. They can be caused by muscle or ligament strains in the foot, over-stretching the plantar fascia or tearing the membrane covering the heel bone.
Below, our Milwaukee foot specialists list some of the most common heel spur causes.
- Weight Gain: Gaining significant weight in a short period of time can be a prime cause of heel spurs since the plantar fascia simply cannot adequately compensate for the extra weight. Pregnant women often get heel spurs for this reason.
- Athletic Activity: Frequent jumping or running on hard surfaces can result in heel spurs in athletes, since this type of activity strains the fascia. When the fascia is strained the body responds by putting more calcium into the bottom of the foot, causing a bony heel spur. Basketball players and runners are often the most susceptible to heel spurs.
- Abnormal Walking: A compromised or abnormal gait can put severe stress on the heel bone, especially if done over an extended period. The heel bone, ligaments and even your nerves can be affected.
- Poor-Fitting Shoes: Shoes commonly have worn heels or soles. Some lack adequate arch support (flats or sandals). Others do not adequately compensate for foot conditions like flat feet or low arches. High arches can also contribute to heel spurs. It’s important to wear the proper footwear for your specific foot size and shape. Our Milwaukee foot specialists can help you find the best footwear for you. We may suggest custom orthotics depending on your particular foot condition.
- Age: As you age your plantar fascia becomes less flexible and the heel is less protected. Older people are commonly at risk for developing heel spurs.
- Excessive Standing: If your job requires a lot of standing (cashier, waitress, factory worker, etc.), you are also at risk for developing heel spurs.
- Other Common Causes: Other heel spur causes include hereditary foot problems, diabetes, arthritis, short leg syndrome (leg length discrepancy) and even walking barefoot.
Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs are Similar but Not the Same
If a patient has a history of plantar fasciitis, heel spurs are generally more common. Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are similar since both cause heel pain and both are treated in a similar fashion. A heel spur is a calcium buildup on the heel bone (calcaneus). A doctor for Plantar Fasciitis will look for inflammation of the tissue of your arch. Three quarters of people with plantar fasciitis have a heel spur which can be detected in an x-ray.
Heel Spur Treatment
Stretching: You can stretch the plantar fascia to relieve heel pain. We encourage proper stretching after sleeping or resting for an extended period. Our Milwaukee physical therapists can provide you with the best plantar fasciitis stretches and heel stretches to relieve your foot pain.
Good Shoes: Wear shoes which fit well with shock-absorbing soles and supportive heels. Choose the right shoes for various activities. Don’t walk barefoot. Warm up and do stretches before exercising. Pace yourself.
Custom Orthotics: Our Milwaukee foot specialists can recommend specific types of shoes or custom orthotics to transfer weight from the heel and spread it over the entire arch. The foot can also be stabilized with a variety of shoe inserts, ensuring a normal alignment when you walk. Ask our Milwaukee podiatrist for recommendations.
Anti-Inflammatories: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can help ease heel pain, including acetaminophen –Tylenol, Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen).
Cortisone Injections: Cortisone injections reduce inflammation and are injected where the plantar fascia joins the heel bone. This heel spur treatment helps reduce swelling and enables healing. The relief can be either temporary or permanent. For the most effective treatment, our Milwaukee foot doctors recommend combining cortisone shots with other treatments (laser treatments for plantar fasciitis, physical therapy, custom orthotics, etc.).
ESWT: Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) generates high-pressure sound through the skin. It causes tissue to heal more strongly. It’s safe and effective along with being a completely non-invasive and non-surgical way to treat heel pain and plantar fasciitis.
Heel Spur Surgery: Most people do not require heel spur surgery. However, if it is deemed absolutely necessary our Milwaukee foot surgeons can do a plantar fascia release to release the tension and inflammation. Although not common, heel spur surgery does have a very high success rate.
Milwaukee Foot Doctors Utilize a Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Treat Heel Spurs and Relieve Related Heel Pain
The Milwaukee foot doctors at Great Midwest Foot and Ankle utilize a multidisciplinary approach, providing the most effective treatment to relieve bottom of heel pain. When you need a good foot specialist in Milwaukee who is extremely talented, knowledgeable and friendly, trust the experts at Great Midwest Foot and Ankle. Our Wisconsin orthopedic and podiatric clinic utilizes proven state of the art technology and equipment to give you the very best results.