A heel spur is a small bony outgrowth of the heel bone, which can only be detected by an X-ray of the foot.
Fortunately, heel spurs can be managed with appropriate dietary and lifestyles changes.
Read below to learn more about signs and symptoms of heel spurs and what you can do for relief.
What are Heel spurs?
This outgrowth is actually a calcium deposit that can happen when the bones in the foot are subjected to a constant stress such as high heels, obesity or flat feet.
The calcium deposit does not cause any discomfort until it is large enough to cause a deformity. The surrounding tissues can then become inflamed and very painful.
The pain is felt in the heel spur area and is most intense after long periods of rest (ex. in the morning) or during activities such as walking or running.
There are two types of heel spurs:
- An inferior heel spur develops on the lower inner part of the heel and is usually linked to plantar fasciitis
- A posterior heel spur develops behind the heel, near the Achilles tendon
Pain results from inflammation and is not to be taken lightly. Pain is the body’s mean to signal some distress; if inflammation is a fire, then pain is the smoke.
Analgesics mask the pain, allowing inflammation to continue with the same intensity, damaging tissues even more.
What causes heel spurs?
A strong, fibrous and rigid ligament called plantar fascia supports the arch of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the base of your toes.
An inflammation of this ligament is called plantar fasciitis and may be caused by a mechanical issue or an improper weight distribution in the foot.
Repetitive movements such as walking and running stretch the plantar fascia continuously and can cause small tears in this rigid ligament, leading to inflammation and pain.
- A lift or a collapse of the arch
- Walking or running on an uneven surface
- Prolonged standing position
- Wearing shoes with no proper support
- Early arthritis
- Being overweight
- A prolonged flexion of the foot (ex. after spending the night in one position or after a long period of driving) may trigger pain. This pain, often described as a burning sensation, usually decreases or even disappears when walking.
- A diet that includes lots of caffeine, red meat, processed foods (containing white flour, white sugar, artificial colours and flavours) and alcohol can cause a uric acid build-up in the small joints of the hands and feet and cause pain and swelling. This is a very important factor for the majority of musculoskeletal disorders and particularly in plantar fasciitis.
- Nicotine contributes significantly to create an acidic internal environment.
- Stress also plays a role because it stimulates the production of inflammatory hormones in the body.
6-step plan for healthy joints, tendons and ligaments
The goal is to reduce inflammation and reduce the crystallised deposits that can damage joints ligaments.
6-step plan for healthy joints, tendons and ligaments
Diet for Heel spurs
Generally, a vegetarian diet can be beneficial since our body produces less arachidonic acid, an inflammatory substance, than with a non-vegetarian diet.
Since a vegetarian diet is not suitable for everyone, it is easier to keep with the following user-friendly fundamental principal for musculoskeletal problems: eat less acid forming food and more alkaline food. This will help decrease the amount of deposit forming acid residues in the joints.
Avoid or reduce your consumption of:
- Red meats, pork and bacon
- Dairy products
- Processed foods, especially those containing refined sugar and white flour.
- Vegetables from the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers)
Increase your intake of:
- Fatty fish
- Whole foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables
- Water - minimum of 2 liters of water every day and avoid carbonated water
- Omega 3, to neutralizing the production of arachidonic acid to reduce inflammation. A.Vogel VegOmega-3 is an excellent source.
Acid Forming Food
- Soft drinks
- Brussels sprouts
- White flour and food based on white flour
- Pasta Eggs (N.B. organic eggs or eggs from free-running grain fed chickens are not acid forming)
- Sugar (all foods with added sugar)
- Vinegar – especially white vinegar
- Tobacco and medications are also acid forming
Low acid foods (almost neutral)
- Cereals (most)
- Ice cream
- Canned, dried or sulphured fruits
- Iced milk
- Dried coconut
- Nuts and seeds (most)
Alkaline forming food
- Fresh fruits (most)
- Fresh vegetables (especially onions, potatoes and turnip)
- Fresh coconut
- Maple syrup
- Soya and soya based products
Low alkaline forming food (almost neutral)
- Lima beans
- Black Strap molasses
- Brazil nuts
- Sour milk products
Lifestyle changes for Heel spurs
It is now recognised that lifestyle is key for the efficacy of the immune system and the reduction of inflammation.
Stress management is important but so is sleep and regular exercise. Exercises that do not put pressure the plantar fascia include swimming, yoga and tai chi.
Supplements for Heel spurs
Devil’s claw found in Joint Pain Relief from A.Vogel is a powerful plant that has the ability to relieve inflammatory pain. Its action touches several aspects of the inflammatory process for great effectiveness. Devil's claw has been the subject several studies that shows equivalent pain relief as conventional anti-inflammatory drugs without any side effects. Its analgesic effect can be felt within 1 to 3 weeks, faster in cases of injury than in chronic inflammation.
Topical application of Absolüt Arnica Gel from A.Vogel helps to reduce inflammation in joints and muscles. Arnica has recently been recognized as one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory plants. Unlike most arnica gels on the market, Absolüt Arnica is an herbal concentrate and not a homeopathic formula. Its high concentration of sesquiterpenes lactones explains its strong anti-inflammatory properties. A comparative study between Absolüt Arnica gel and Europe’s best selling Ibuprofen gel shows that Absolüt Arnica gel is just as effective to reduce pain without the side effects.
Stinging Nettle is a plant with excellent cleansing properties, especially for the elimination of acid wastes such as uric acid. It also contains a lot of silica, an essential mineral for the proper distribution of calcium, reduction of calcium deposits and regeneration of damaged connective tissues (such as tendons and ligaments). Ideal for issues such as stones, spurs, arthritis, rheumatism, tendonitis, bursitis and gout
What do you think?
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