The main symptom of heel spurs is pain under the middle of one or both heels for a prolonged period of time, sometimes years.
Dr. Sam Dubé discusses heel spurs
Learn about the symptoms, causes, and benefits of different treatment options.
Heels spurs occur as a result of poor foot mechanics caused by footwear use.
The feet have a thick, fibrous band of tissue called the plantar fascia, which connects the heel bone to the balls of the feet. The plantar fascia can become strained when the muscles that form and maintain the arch system of the feet don’t work efficiently.
When this happens, the arches can’t safely manage the vertical forces that are generated by the body weight. Consequently, the arches collapse, creating stress and strain on the plantar fascia.
Heel spurs develop when that tissue is continually strained over time. Calcium deposits form a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel bone.
Historically, over-pronation (collapsing arches) has been thought to be hereditary. However, modern science has identified that the nervous system plays a critical role in stabilizing the feet and ankles when walking or running. It is now understood that over-pronation is a symptom of inefficient neuromuscular function caused by conventional footwear use. In fact, conventional footwear use causes poor neuromuscular function throughout the feet, legs, hips, and back, when:
- the soles of the feet don’t receive the subtle, varied stimulus that the nervous system requires for healthy function, and
- snug toe boxes, stiff midsoles/outsoles/uppers and tight lacing restrict healthy foot movement.
To learn more about how your footwear affects function and performance, click HERE.
The best way to prevent and treat heel spurs is to eliminate the over pronation by retraining healthy neuromuscular function, and to use footwear that is soft, flexible, and roomier in the forefoot.
Conventional treatment methods for heel spurs
Since the late 1890s, the standard treatment for over-pronation (collapsing arches) has been to artificially support the arches with an orthotic. Other conventional heel spur treatment options include:
- Cushioning products
- Therapy to eliminate the damage and heal the plantar fascia
Modern science has transitioned away from using long-term support and cushioning on any body part because it causes a progressive weakening of the body part being supported or cushioned.
The modern approach to treating heel spurs
Science has shown that merely challenging the body to “do its job” is the best way to restore and enhance function.
The modern approach to address poor neuromuscular function is to employ a “Proper Technique” rehabilitative therapy to regain healthy function. This approach is extensively used pre- and post-surgery and is also the foundation of virtually all sports training/rehabilitation programs. By employing a therapeutic approach, the feet become stronger and more stable, thereby addressing the cause of the collapsing arches that contribute to the formation of heel spurs. Proper Technique therapies employ exercise that focuses on safely training healthy neuromuscular function, i.e., optimal mobility, muscle strength, stability, and alignment.
Proper Technique therapies require both Right Stimulus and Right Movement.
Right Stimulus occurs when the information that the brain receives from the senses triggers an efficient protective reflex function or Right Movement. The nerve endings in the soles of the feet play a critical role in providing the brain with the information required for optimal Right Movement throughout the feet, legs, hips, and back. When the brain receives insufficient or inaccurate information from the soles of the feet, the protective reflex function Right Movement will be ineffective or absent altogether. This is what happens when conventional footwear is worn. For more information on Right Stimulus and Right Movement, click HERE.
To therapeutically address the cause of heal spurs and to prevent them from reoccurring, do the following:
Walk barefoot on natural terrain as much as possible. This provides the optimal Right Stimulus and allows for the Right Movement required for healthy neuromuscular function.
Use BioPods® Stimsoles® in loosely laced, soft, flexible footwear with ample toe room that allows your arches and toes to rise easily for best results. BioPods Stimsoles provide the Right Stimulus in your conventional footwear.
Consult with your healthcare practitioner to ask about employing soft tissue mobilization therapies to address the fibrotic scar tissue that may have formed prior to using BioPods.
For more information on what to expect when using BioPods Stimsoles, click HERE.
BioPods® Stimsoles® help rehabilitate the poor foot mechanics that cause heels spurs. We guarantee it, unconditionally.
When Stimsoles are used in your shoes, they create a healthy stimulus experience, which helps address the cause of heel spurs and the related pain. When used regularly, they provide the subtle, varied stimulus that your body needs for healthy function, to enhance your performance capabilities, and to reduce your risk of injury.Get Stimsoles
Need a hand?
We’re available by phone and chat Monday – Friday, 8am – 4:30pm ET or check out the frequently asked questions.