Help for heel spurs

Dr. Kristopher Keller, a chiropractor, author and researcher, recently released this booklet on solving the problem of heel spurs. The technical name for heel spurs is plantar fasciitis. It involves pain and sometimes swelling on the underside of the heel.

It is caused by tension in the tendon (plantar fascia) that runs underneath the foot and attaches to the heel bone. The causes can include weak arches, tight calf muscles or tight ankle joints.

For temporary relief from heel spur pain, Dr. Keller says you can use a “heel cup” (see photo), worn inside the shoe. Aspirin and Advil can also reduce the swelling and the pain temporarily. But for longer term healing, Dr. Keller suggests a few simple steps.Dr. Keller suggests looking at the three areas that could be causing the problem: weak arches, tight ankle joins and tight calf muscles.

The simplest solution for supporting weak arches is a well-made pair of shoes (tennis shoes, etc.) with excellent arch support. If that isn’t enough, you may need to have custom-made shoes, or othotics. It’s important that you wear the shoes or orthotics absolutely all day (i.e. whenever you’re standing, except in the shower). That means your shoes are sitting right beside your bed and you slip into them immediately. This means no barefoot walking or non-supportive sandals for 16 weeks.

If it’s tight ankle joints that are the problem, he has a specific exercise to help loosen them (see the booklet for details).

For tight calf muscles, stretch them by standing on one leg on the edge of a stair. Let your heel move down and then bring it back up again. (Illustrations in the booklet.)

To determine which of these might be your problem, use your own best judgment. If when you touch your calf muscles, they feel tight and painful, start there. If your arches hurt to the touch, start there. If your ankles don’t move side to side very well, start with them.

Heel spurs are a condition where it’s worthwhile trying to address it yourself before you submit to more expensive therapies or treatments, like surgery. Dr. Keller says that surgery is very invasive and seldom produces good results.

Some less expensive treatments include deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, acupuncture and reflexology.

Author by Daryl Kulak