Heel spurs are bony growths that appear on the heel bone and move towards the arch of the foot. They can cause pain if they push up against neighboring nerves, ligaments or tendons. Heel spurs are common in people that have plantar faciitis, a painful condition that affects the thick membrane that connects your heel to your toes. You can do several things to ease the pain of heel spurs that include medication and self-care measures. The Mayo Clinic and Dr. Andrew Weil offer several suggestions.
1. Use medications that ease pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, Tylenol, Advil and Aleve are good choices; take as directed on the label. If you find these are inadequate to relieve your pain, talk to your doctor about stronger options. He might prescribe prescription-strength NSAIDs or other medications that treat pain.
2. Stretch the calf muscles regularly; it will relax the tissue near the heel. Do this several times a day, particularly after you get up in the morning and after sitting for long periods of time.
3. Wear shoe inserts that support the arch. You can get them over-the-counter or talk to your doctor about prescription inserts. He can determine what ones are most appropriate.
4. Use supplements that fight inflammation; alternative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil recommends ginger (400 to 600 mg daily) and turmeric (500 to 1,000 mg three times daily) for heel spur pain. You will not achieve the full benefit for six to eight weeks so be patient and be consistent with use. Check with your doctor before using natural supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions or are taking prescription medications.
5. Consider working with a physical therapist who can show you ways to exercise the foot to relieve pain.
6. Experiment with acupuncture, deep tissue massage and chiropractic manipulation.
7. Wear shoes that fit properly and wear activity-appropriate shoes when you are taking part in sports or other sorts of physical activity.
8. Talk to your doctor about surgical options if self-care is not providing relief or the heel spurs are affecting your mobility or activities of daily living. Your doctor can determine the most appropriate procedure for your situation.