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Causes and Treatments for Heel Spurs

Numerous people may develop a bone spur of some kind which medically termed an osteophyte. These are simply a bone or bony growth that has formed on a normal bone. Although these spurs are smooth they press and rub on other bones and soft tissues including the tendons and ligaments as well as the nerves in the body which may sometimes cause extreme pain. Bone spurs may be found in the shoulders, hands, spine, hips, and knees but are most common in the feet. Many individuals have heel spurs or a spur in other locations and are never able to detect it.

General Symptoms

Many of those suffering with heel spurs have much of the same complaints. Often, upon rubbing the heel, one may discover a bump of skin in the area. Heel spurs symtoms usually include heel pain and tenderness, generally experienced on the bottom of the heel that bares the weight of the body when standing or walking. In some instances, a person may have no signs and symptoms at all. Often, a physician will obtain an X-ray to determine that there is a spur causing the pain. On the X-ray a spur may resemble a tooth that is penetrating through the flesh.

Some Various Heel Spurs Treatments

After there is confirmation that the pain a person is experiencing in the heel is actually being caused by a heel spur, treatment can begin. Many tend to seek professional help with this condition while others first try home remedies and other measures in an attempt to alleviate the pain and suffering. There are many different techniques such as:

• Often elevating the feet and legs in order to allow for rest.

• Placing a foam rubber pad in the heels of the shoes that is about one half inch thick will allow for the heels to be raised, for body weight to be shifted forward, and to allow protection of the irritated muscles which attach to the bones of the heels.

Professional Intervention

Many treatments tried at home are helpful with the alleviation of pain for a limited amount of time. When their effectiveness declines it may be necessary to seek the advice of a physician who may order some of the following:

• By using a current of electricity called diathermy inflamed tissues can be sedated. This works by using an ultrasound device that gives off sound waves that are sent into the heels and begins an action of messaging that causes improved blood circulation.

• Whirlpool bath therapy provides jetting streams of water in which to directly place the feet. This type of therapy also helps to relax tension and improve the circulation of the feet.

• Many times it is beneficial to have an orthopedic mold or appliance placed in order to eliminate the painful irritation of the heel during standing and walking. If appliances are placed and used in the correct manner, the weight of the body will be sent forward away from the spot that is tender.

When all other options have been exhausted and the doctor feels as if there are no other choices, surgery will be recommended. This is a very radical treatment and is a permanent solution to remove the heel spur. Often there is a rather lengthy recovery period during which time there will be very limited bearing of weight. This is to ensure that the tissue will adequately heal.

In some cases, the nerve tissue may sustain damage during surgery resulting in numbness in the heel. Sometimes, though very rare, even with the surgery the pain may continue but normally it will disappear in about a week.
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