Spurs: they aren’t just for horses.
The kind you find on boots, of course, are used by many equestrian riders to transmit subtle signals to their trusty steed. However, there’s a kind you can find in your boots, or more accurately inside your foot itself. These are called heel spurs, bony growths that appear on your heel bone, and they can be uncomfortable or even painful for those who develop them.
Although by no means the only factor, poor footwear often causes, contributes to, or exacerbates the development of heel spurs and heel pain. That’s one reason that the condition is typically more common among women—contemporary women’s fashion often encourages footwear choices that aren’t very good for your feet. So, if you’re struggling with heel pain from heel spurs, you’re going to want to look for a trusty pair of shoes that will help you feel better, not worse.
What should you look for? It’ll depend on your precise foot shape, of course, but in general you want to look for two major features.
First, your shoe should provide plenty of support in the midfoot—in other words, arch support. If you don’t support your arch, the band of tissue that runs across it—the plantar fascia—can sag, stretch, and tear, which in turn can trigger the build-up of calcium on the heel bone. Second, your shoe should have plenty of cushioning, particularly at the heel. This softens the impact force on sensitive tissues when you stand, walk, and run.
Shoe modifications can also be beneficial here, especially if you have a particularly unusual foot shape. Over-the-counter arch supports or heel cups may be helpful in many cases, though a custom-molded orthotic device may ultimately be a better and longer-lasting solution.
Of course, you’ll also want to be sure that your footwear checks off all the other criteria—comfortable yet firm fit, plenty of room in the toes, sturdy and twist-resistant construction, breathable materials, etc.—to keep you well supported and avoid other, unrelated foot problems such as sweaty feet, bunions, hammertoes, or corns.
When heel pain strikes, don’t simply shrug it off—it should spur you to action. Call Family Foot and Ankle Center to schedule an appointment—whether you need physical therapy, a more aggressive treatment like surgery, or just a brand new pair of shoes, our expert podiatrists will craft the best treatment plan for your situation. Call us at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 today.