Although heel spurs often show no symptoms, they can occasionally be quite painful. Many people describe this pain as that of a knife going through your heel. If you have a severe case of heel spurs, it may affect your ability to walk properly.
The good news is that there are many home remedies and over-the-counter solutions that can help. Surgery is an option too, if none of the other approaches made a difference, but most people don’t need it.
Let’s take a look at how to treat heel spurs with all-natural methods.
Heel spurs are bony outgrowths that form as a result of calcium buildup under the calcaneus bone (heel bone). As such, they can sometimes be treated with different forms of magnesium. More than 50% of all magnesium in our body is stored within bones, and it is in charge of proper bone formation. Magnesium deficiency contributes to the development of heel spurs.
To treat this condition, you can try a warm bath with Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). Just add one cup of Epsom salt to your bath, then massage the heal area to relieve the symptoms of heel spurs.
In addition, you can try adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet. These include:
- Black beans
- Brown rice
If you suffer from severe magnesium deficiency, you might want to consider taking supplements. However, you should never do this without consulting your physician first.
2. Proteolytic Enzymes
Heel spurs often come hand-in-hand with plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the ligament underneath the foot. In many cases, it’s this inflammation that causes the stabbing pain that patients report.
To reduce inflammation naturally, you can use proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes reduce swelling through the process of breaking long proteins into fragments, and then dissolving them into amino acids.
For relieving the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, you can make some changes in your diet. Foods rich in proteolytic enzymes include pineapples and papayas. The enzymes are also available in various supplements, and you can talk to your doctor about whether that’s a good choice for you.
3. Fish Oil
Most fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, one of the most powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in nature. To get rid of the inflammation that might be causing you severe pain, you can take omega-3 acids in the form of fish oil.
In general, 1,000mg of fish oil is a healthy dose that can be effective at reducing different types of inflammation. It’s important that you don’t go over the recommended daily intake. Consuming too much fish oil can produce unpleasant side effects, especially if you go with low-quality fish oil that’s highly-processed.
4. Alkaline Diet
Your body needs to maintain an optimal acid/alkaline balance, also called the pH balance. Disturbances in the acid/alkaline ratio can cause many health issues.
When there’s too much acid in your body, it takes calcium from your bones in order to neutralize this acidity. As highly-acidic areas draw in that calcium, it builds up over time and can cause outgrowths like the heel spurs.
To stop this from happening and potentially get rid of the spur, you need to increase your body’s alkalinity. This is done by maintaining an alkaline-rich diet. The most common alkaline rich foods include:
- Sweet potato
If you eat too much acidic food like animal protein, grains, and calcium-rich dairy, balance it out by adding alkaline foods to your diet.
5. Stretching Exercises
Stretches can help you relax the muscles surrounding your heel, which reduces the pressure and strain of the ligaments. Bear in mind that these should be light exercises and that you shouldn’t push yourself too hard, otherwise you might make the problem even worse.
One of the best exercises for heel spurs are light foot flexes. Here’s how to do them:
- Sit and cross one leg over the other.
- Grab your toes and gently pull them towards your chest.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then release.
- Repeat five times, then do the same with the other foot.
Calf stretches might also be helpful for relieving pressure off your heels. Use this simple exercise to do make this happen:
- Stand straight with your arms touching the wall in from of you.
- Step forward with one leg and slowly lean towards the wall.
- Bend your knees while pushing your hips forward.
- Stay in this position for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times, then switch your legs.
Do the exercises every morning, afternoon, and evening. With time, you should notice the symptoms receding.
6. Comfortable Shoes and Orthotics
Changing your footwear is one of the best ways to combat heel spurs and prevent further damage. A pair of good shoes can move the pressure from your heel to other parts of your foot, which can result in less pain and reduced inflammation.
Your shoes should be flexible enough to ensure comfort, and you should choose a model with soft soles. Also, shoes with a slightly elevated heal can move the pressure forward, relieving your heel from the strain and minimizing the pain that spur is causing. The heels should be supported, and you need to make sure your foot doesn’t roll inward or outward.
If finding shoes like this is hard, you can try using orthotics. These molded shoe inserts are custom-made to ensure optimal heel support while making sure your feet stay in place.
Give It a Try
Now that you’ve seen how to treat heel spurs at home, don’t hesitate to give these methods a try. If left untreated, a heel spur can cause a lot of damage to the ligament above it, which can result in further bone and muscle damage.
If all else fails, you can always opt for surgery. The operation is smooth in most cases, and can help you get rid of the heel spurs for good.