advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Hobbled by Heel Spurs?

Is there any advice that you can give me about bone spurs on my heel?

A
Answer (Published 3/27/2002)

Bone spurs are small growths on the underside of the heel that can come from strain on foot muscles and ligaments, from stretching the band of tissue that connects the heel and the ball of the foot or by repeated tearing away of the membrane that lines the heel bone. The causes of these problems can range from running or jogging to improperly fitted or worn out shoes or obesity.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Whole Body - Foods, herbs and drugs can all interact, sometimes in unexpected ways. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes known interactions into account when developing nutritional supplement recommendations, to help safeguard against adverse effects. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor recommendation today.

However, what you may think is the pain of a heel spur, even one that shows up on an x-ray, may actually be due to a related condition, plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that stretches along the bottom of the foot. This problem can develop when the tissue is stretched beyond the length it can extend to normally as a result of running or jumping and can be worsened by shoes that don't give you proper support. Plantar fasciitis is most common among runners, volleyball and tennis players, people who do step aerobics or stair climbing for exercise, those with flat feet, pregnant women, the obese and diabetics.

Because heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are so closely related, they're usually treated the same way. First of all, if you think your pain is exercise-related, take a break from what you've been doing. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen) can help temporarily, or if these medications cause you gastrointestinal problems, you can take a natural anti-inflammatory. Try one of the following: ginger (Zingiber officinale) standardized to 5-6% gingerols and 6% shogoals, take one to two 500 mg tablets three to four times daily; turmeric (Curcuma longa) standardized to 95% curcuminoids, take 400-600 mg three times a day; Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) standardized to 65% Boswellic acids, take 400-1200 mg three times per day. Applying ice to the painful area can help relieve the pain, and you can take the pressure off your heel with a donut-shaped heel cushion or a heel raise placed in your shoe. There are also special stretching exercises that help - your physician or podiatrist can give you instructions.

Acupuncture can also relieve the pain, as can - for some sufferers - magnetic shoe inserts. If all else fails, cortisone injections are a last resort. I wouldn't consider surgery - it is rarely necessary and doesn't always work. A final word of advice: in the future, be sure that you're wearing well-fitting shoes, the proper shoes for each activity, and that you buy new ones as soon as you notice signs of wear.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here