Does it feel like a pick or knife is jabbing into the bottom of your foot every time you step down?
If you’ve been experiencing pain like this while walking, it is possible that you have a calcaneal spur. What is a calcaneal spur and, perhaps most importantly, how can you get it to go away?
Calcaneal spur defined
A calcaneal spur is another name for a heel spur, which MedicineNet.com defines as “a bony spur…that projects from the back or underside of the heel bone (the calcaneus).”1 This spur is essentially a protruding calcium deposit that forms on the bottom of your heel. Sometimes this spur makes it extremely painful when you walk, but not always, as it is estimated that only five percent of people with heel spurs actually experience pain.2
While often associated with other pain-related conditions such as plantar fasciitis or arthritis, calcaneal spurs are typically brought on by activities that put a lot of stress on the heel area. These include walking with an abnormal gait, running or jogging, or wearing shoes that don’t offer the right type of support for your feet.3
Fortunately, you have quite a few options available when it comes to reducing and even eliminating calcaneal spur pain. Some of these include engaging in physical therapy and stretching the inflamed area, but foot orthotics can help tremendously, as well.
Foot orthotics for calcaneal spurs
Foot orthotics are effective tools when treating calcaneal spurs for a number of reasons. First, they offer extra cushion to the heel area, which makes it more comfortable to walk without writhing in pain. Second, the additional padding means less pressure is placed on the heel spur, reducing the likelihood of any trauma to the fascia, which could easily make the pain worse.
Additionally, if the calcaneal spur is caused by a gait issue, foot orthotics can help correct it, allowing you to walk in a way that is more natural and healthier for your feet. In this respect, wearing the foot orthotics not only helps you effectively deal with the calcaneal spur, but they may even help prevent future spurs from forming if this is the primary cause of your issues.
To find out what is behind your foot-related pain and what remedies are available to you in an effort to ease it, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor. Through X-rays and other imaging tests, he or she will be able to determine if, in fact, you have a calcaneal spur. And if you do, together you can create a treatment plan that best addresses the issue in a way that will work for you and your specific situation.
1 MedicineNet. “Definition of calcaneal spur.” MedicineNet.com. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7095. Reviewed March 2012. Accessed May 2015.
2 Kadakia AR. “Plantar fasciitis and bone spurs.” American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00149. Reviewed June 2010. Accessed May 2015.
3 Ratini M. “Heel spurs.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/heel-spurs-pain-causes-symptoms-treatments. Reviewed May 2013. Accessed May 2015.