Heel spurs are one of the most prevalent foot problems, and you might have to deal with it at some point. While for some people it manifests as sharp pain (like a knife digging into the heel) for many others it is not painful at all, and they will not even know that they have it until they get an x-ray. Whether you feel pain or not, once you ascertain that it is there the most important thing is to understand how to deal with it.
Luckily, there are various ways of treating heel spurs. But, exercises and stretches are one of the most helpful. The heel spur exercises will not only help to deal the heel spur but also prevent it from recurring. But, even as you deal with this painful problem it is still important to first understand what causes it.
What Causes Heel Spur?
You will probably not think about the causes of heel spur until you get it and have to deal with it. But, if you know the heel spur causes it will be easy to prevent it. The primary cause of heel spur is the displacement of calcium on the bone that forms on the heels underside. It can also be a result of excessive accumulation of calcium around the heel. Some of the things that can cause this are obesity and excessive weight gain, wearing poorly fitted or worn out shoes, jumping, jogging or running on hard surfaces and abnormal (lopsided) walking.
Best Heel Spur Exercises
Exercises might be one of the most useful remedies for heel spur, but not just any will work for you. If you are struggling with heel spurs, you should do one or more of the following exercises and stretches.
#1 Towel Pickup
The towel pickup sounds like an easy exercise, but when you do it, you will realize that it can be quite hard. However, it is still one of the best heel spur exercises. This exercise will entail placing a towel on the ground and then pick it up with your toes. Also, you can put some heavy objects on the cloth before lifting it to increase the resistance. This exercise keeps your foot supple and helps to pull tension from the back of the foot.
#2 Ball Rolling
Ball rolling is another exercise that proves that you do not need any specialized equipment to do some useful heel spur exercises. This stretch will also help with plantar fasciitis, and it entails placing your foot over a small ball. You should then try to make some movements with your foot over the ball. Doing this will massage and stretch the muscles on the sole of your foot which is very helpful when dealing with heel spurs.
#3 Shin Tracing
Shin tracing is another useful exercise for relieving heel spur pain. It is also a simple exercise to do as it only entails moving the problematic foot up and down the shin of the other. When doing this exercise, you should be sitting down on a hard surface and ensure that there is enough height to lift your foot. This stretch will work by relaxing the heel and leg muscles which are close to the spur and for maximum effectiveness you should do this exercise consistently.
#4 Wall Stretches
Exercising the calf muscle can also be a useful way of reducing the heel spur pain. Wall stretches are one of the best ways to stretch your calf muscles. A simple way to do them will entail standing next to a wall and bending one knee while keeping the other straight. You should them lean forward as if you are pushing the wall away from you. Doing this stretches the calf muscles and hence reducing the heel spur pain. Repeat the stretch for the other leg and do it a couple of times in the day.
#5 Plantar Fascia and Calf Stretch
Stretching your plantar fascia is not only helpful for plantar fasciitis because it can also be an excellent way to deal with a heel spur. A simple exercise to stretch this ligament and your calf muscles will entail standing on a stair step or bench with the toes while the heels are hanging down. You should then lower your heels until you feel a stretch and hold the position for a few seconds. Repeat this plantar fascia and calf stretch a few times throughout the day, and your heel spur should be less painful.
Other Natural Heel Spur Remedies
- Reduce activities such as cycling, jogging, and athletics as they can make the problem worse.
- Soak your feet in Epsom salt to reduce the swelling that results from heel spurs.
- Follow an alkaline diet as it can ensure that the body absorbs calcium well to prevent it from accumulating around the heel.
- Wear proper fitting, supportive and comfortable footwear.
- Massage your feet with hot lavender or coconut oils to help repair the scar tissues on your heel.
A heel spur can be painful, and it will also make life unbearable for you since you will not be able to do the activities that you like such as running and cycling. But, by doing the exercises above and combining them with other natural remedies, you can heal your heels quickly. However, the most important thing is to prevent the heel spurs before they occur by maintaining a healthy weight and wearing footwear that fits correctly.