You wake up in the morning and jump (or crawl) out of bed as usual. Your feet hit the floor, and that’s when you feel it–that excruciating pain in your heel. It’s another dreaded heel spur!
Heel spurs (or heel bone spurs) seem to happen to most of us eventually. I had never heard of them before, so the first time it happened to me, I was sure that this terrible heel pain could only mean I’d broken my foot.
What is a Heel Spur, Exactly?
FootCare Direct.com defines a heel spur as “a bony overgrowth on the bottom of your heel.” This is true, and once you’ve got one, it never leave you. But most of the time, you’ll be okay, because it’s not the heel spur itself that’s causing your misery. The only time a heel spur will generate pain is when the surrounding tissue becomes inflamed. And when that happens, your foot will let you know it!
But take heart; all is not lost. There are things that will help you walk right now, and speed up the recovery process at the same time.
Four Heel Spur Treatments that Work for Me
IMPORTANT: before you try any of these heel spur remedies, and especially if you are diabetic, PLEASE consult with your doctor!.
Heel Spur Treatment #1: Ice
For obvious reasons, it’s easier to do this one in the summer, but if you’re up for the challenge, it’s worth trying any time of year. It’s also best to do it early in the game!
There are several methods for icing your foot. I’ve tried them all, and until the other day I advocated the draconian method of plunging your heel directly into a bucket of ice. I no longer recommend this method! A frozen juice can works much better in every respect.
Get one of the 12-ounce cans, and mark it specifically for this purpose. You can call it your personal foot can, or you can name it “Moe.” Just make sure that you don’t confuse it with the other frozen juice cans in your freezer, because once a can has been repeatedly defrosted and refrozen, it’s probably not a good idea to drink the contents.
Take a seat, and place the frozen juice can on a folded towel on the floor in front of you. Now set the arch of your bare foot on the juice can, and slowly roll your foot back and forth over the can. Five to ten minutes at a time should do the trick. You can repeat this four or five times during the day.
Heel Spur Treatment #2: Aspirin or Advil
It’s the inflammation that’s causing your heel spur pain, so any anti-inflammatory will help to bring it down.
Heel Spur Treatment #3: Birkenstocks
I’ve found that Birkenstock sandals are lifesavers in the heel spur department. It’s the combination of arch support and deep heel cup that does the trick, and all Birkenstock sandals have them. If it’s too cold for sandals, you can always loosen up the straps and wear them with socks, at least around the house.
Birkenstocks may be a bit on the expensive side, but no worse than a decent pair of sneakers, and the ones you buy today will last you for years. I honestly could not live through a heel spur attack without them.
Heel Spur Treatment #4: Athletic Tape
Sometimes, in spite of your heel situation, you’ve just got to wear regular shoes. In a case like this, there is one remedy that I’ve found invaluable, and that involves taping your foot. This works for me where all else fails, but of all the remedies mentioned here, it is most important that you consult a doctor before taping your foot, especially if you are diabetic.
If your doctor approves, here is how to tape your foot to relieve a heel spur: Take ordinary 1 1/2 inch athletic tape (you can find it in any drug store), and first thing every morning, apply three strips to the sole of your foot.
1. The first strip goes from just below the big toe all the way to the back of the heel on the inside of your foot.
2. The second strip goes from just below the little toe to the back of the heel on the outside of your foot.
3. The third strip is applied diagonally from just below the big toe to the back of the heel on the outside of your foot.
Don’t tape up over the back of your heel; just put the tape on the bottom. And do NOT leave the tapes on overnight. Always remove them before going to bed, and apply new strips fresh the next morning.
You can find detailed instructions and diagram for taping your foot right here.
Don’t Let Those Heel Spurs Slow You Down
Life’s too short to waste any time being crippled by heel spurs, so don’t let them get the upper hand. I hope that these four treatments for heel pain work as well for you as they always do for me. And now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a frozen can of OJ with my name on it.
Scott, “Taping for Plantar Fasciitis”, heelspur.com
Elizabeth Anne, “How to Apply Ice to a Painful Heel Spur”, eHow.com