Are there home remedies for heel spurs that work? Heel spurs are calcium deposits on the bone of the heel. They can cause intermittent or chronic pain when the surrounding tissue or tendons are inflamed. Treatment for heel bone spurs and plantar fasciitis involves the application of measures that decrease inflammation, pain, and swelling. Unlike conventional treatments that are ineffective and too expensive, here are home remedies for heel spurs.
Home Remedies for Heel Spurs
What is a heel spur? A heel spur also known as a calcaneal spur or osteophyte is a bony protrusion due to calcium deposits on the bone of the heel. A heel spur forms as the bony heel tries to repair itself from repeated injury.
What causes a heel spur? They are caused by repetitive activities that cause strain on the muscles and ligaments surrounding the heel (the calcaneus bone).
Heel spurs can cause intermittent or chronic pain when the surrounding tissue or ligaments are inflamed. Inflammation of the connective tissue (plantar fascia) that runs along the sole of the foot connecting the heel to the ball of the foot is what is known as plantar fasciitis. Most of the time, people do not even realize they have a heel spur unless it causes pain or spotted on x-ray.
On its own, a heel spur is usually painless unless the surrounding tissue is inflamed. Most of the time the terms heel spur and plantar fasciitis are confused. While the two are related, plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the fascia while heel spur is a small bone that forms on the heel bone. According to orthopedics.about.com, 70% of the patients with plantar fasciitis have a heel spur but many patients without symptoms of pain can have a heel spur. Both heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can be grouped into a category called heel spur syndrome.
Heel spur pain is described as sharp, knife or pin sticking onto the sole of the foot when first standing in the morning or after a long period of sitting. Heel spur pain can also be aggravated by exertion or physical activity such as jogging or running.
Treatment of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis is usually symptomatic – rest, exercise, orthotics or shoe devices to take the pressure off the plantar spurs, anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone injections. If these fail, surgery may be necessary. However, according to Dr. Weil M.D, “…surgery is about 80 percent effective in the small group of individuals who do not have relief with conservative treatment, but symptoms may return if preventative measures (wearing proper footwear, shoe inserts, stretching, etc.) are not maintained.”
Calcaneal spurs do not have a magic cure but there are definitely things you can do to relieve pain. Most of the conventional treatments for heel spurs are not as effective and come with undesirable effects. It is for this reason that most people have resorted to home remedies for heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. Home remedies for heel spur pain relief are cheap, easy to use, and have fewer side effects.
Apple Cider Vinegar Pain Relief for Heel Spurs
Apple cider vinegar offers heel spur pain relief and reduces inflammation by pulling out the excess calcium from the area of the spur. Here are different ways you can use apple cider vinegar to relieve and get rid of heel spur pain;
- Soak cotton balls on ACV and dab it on the heel area
- Cut a paper towel in the shape of the foot, submerge it in ACV and place it your shoes. Re-apply as needed throughout the day
- You can also make a foot soak for your feet by mixing ½ a cup of warm ACV with warm water in a small tab, then soak your feet for 10 minutes twice daily for 2 weeks.
- In a glass of warm water, mix raw ACV and honey, drink this twice daily for 1-2 weeks. This remedy works within 2 weeks.
- Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Molasses for heel spur
- Mix 2 tbsp of ACV, 1 tbsp of baking soda and 1 tbsp of molasses
- Apply this to the affected area of the heel for 15 minutes
- Do this twice daily for 2 weeks
Black Cumin Seeds or Nigella Sativa
Black cumin is often termed ‘the remedy for everything but death’. It is used in traditional medicine to treat many diseases. Its extracts have potent anti-inflammatory properties.
- Boil 50gms of black cumin in 250mls of water for 30 minutes
- Strain off the seeds and allow it to cool
- Drink this extract twice daily for 2 weeks
Inflammatory symptoms should be gone within a week of this treatment.
Grape Seed Oil to Treat Heel Spurs
Grape seeds are considered among the best home remedies for heel spurs. This is a natural anti-inflammatory that also improves circulation to the heel area. Grape seeds are also available in capsule form and can be used as anti-inflammatory supplements.
Take 2-3 capsules per day of whole grape seed in capsule form or 500mg of grape seed extract per day
- In a small tab, combine 5 drops of tea tree oil and some grapeseed oil
- Soak the affected area twice daily
- Pat the area dry afterward
This home remedy provides spur pain relief, softens the feet, and can be used to remove callous and corn.
Alfalfa is a natural leguminous plant that is popular in home remedies for various conditions. It is used to relieve discomfort and pain due to heel spur inflammation. Of importance, alfalfa contains minerals like selenium and calcium which are essential in healthy bone formation.
- To a cup of boiling water, add ½ a cup of alfalfa seeds
- Cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes
- Strain off the seeds
- Add a spoonful of honey and drink this tea 3 times daily
- With the improvement of symptoms, you can reduce the frequency of taking this tea to keep the pain away
NOTE: According to drugs.com, children, elderly and immune-compromised people SHOULD AVOID taking alfalfa sprouts because of frequent bacteria contamination. It may also cause uterine stimulation and should therefore be avoided in pregnancy and nursing. People taking anticoagulants like warfarin should also not take this plant and its extracts due to the possibility of decreased anticoagulant activity.
Flaxseed or Linseed oil
Flaxseed and linseed oil are derived from the same plant containing high levels of alpha-linolenic acid. Here is how to heal heel spurs with linseed oil:
- Warm linseed oil in a pan
- Deep a washcloth in the oil
- Place the piece of cloth over the affected area and cover with a plastic bag, trying to maintain the heat
- Do this once daily preferably at night for effective pain relief
Cayenne pepper, Ginger and Turmeric
- Mix 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper, 3 tbsp of ginger and 3 tbsp of turmeric
- Mix thoroughly and store in an airtight container
- For heel spur pain relief, take a spoonful of this remedy and mix it with a glass of warm water and drink
- Bring one cup of water to boil
- Add in 3tbsp of ginger or garlic and ¼ cup of lemon juice. Let it boil for 30 seconds
- Add cayenne and let it simmer for some minutes- till you can smell the strong aroma of ginger
- Drink this for whenever the pain arises
Cayenne, ginger, and turmeric can also be found in capsules, tincture or liquid extract forms.
Cabbage Leaves for Heel Spur Pain and Swelling
Using cabbage leaves treatment for heel spurs is another simple yet effective home remedy for heel spurs. Cabbage leaves reduce pain and cure swelling induced by heel bone spurs.
- Heat the cabbage leaves gently over a low flame to soften them. This makes sure they don’t break while using them
- Cover the entire heel area and the plantar fascia leaving out the toes
- Secure the leaves with a gauze bandage or paper wrap
- Leave them on until they are dry and withered
- Do this every evening for 2 weeks
It is best to use this cabbage wrap treatment while resting so that the leaves stay in place for better treatment.
Borax is one of the most effective home remedies for heel spurs. A mixture of borax and warm water is what your heels need for pain and swelling.
- In a small tab, mix 1 liter of warm water with 1 teaspoon of borax
- Soak your feet in this solution for 30 minutes every day before bedtime
- Soaking your heel in borax solution will relieve you of heel spur pain within a week
Fresh marigold flowers can be used to make flower essences and foot soaks for the treatment of heel spurs.
- Add some fresh marigold flowers to coconut oil
- Heat slightly for blending and allow the mixture to cool
- In a small tab, soak your feet for 30 minutes every day
Witch hazel, vegetable oil, or olive oil can be added to this remedy for added benefits. Marigold is rich in antioxidants and has the ability to improve circulation and promote new cell growth. This home remedy is also good for corns and calluses.
According to The National Institute of Health, marigolds found in many home gardens are of the Tagetes variety and are purely ornamental. The marigold that has these health benefits is the calendula marigold which has loads of health benefits.
Natural Remedies for Heel Spurs – How to Stop Heel Spur Pain Naturally
When the pain from calcaneal spurs becomes intense, physical activity of any kind becomes unbearable. Any activity of any kind is likely to increase inflammation and swelling. Home remedies for heel spurs can be used in different ways to give pain relief and cure symptoms that come with heel spurs. Here are natural remedies for heel spurs;
Ice Packs or Cold Compress
Using ice packs can reduce heel spur pain inflammation and swell tremendously. Ice is used to control inflammation and provide fast heel spur relief. This remedy also works to relax the muscles around the affected area.
- Freeze a bottle of water
- Place it under your foot and roll on it for 15 minutes
- You can do this more than once daily for fast pain relief giving yourself at least 1 hour between applications
Do not place the ice directly to your skin to avoid frostbites- place a thin washcloth between your foot and the ice pack. Remove ice pack immediately if you feel the loss of sensation (pins and needles sensation)
Warm Baths with Epsom Salt
Epsom salts soothe the feet, remove dead cells, and reduce inflammation.
- Fill a small tub with enough warm water to immerse your feet to the ankles
- Add in a cup of Epsom salt and swish the water to mix
- Soak your feet for 20 minutes daily
- Use gentle massage technique to alleviate pressure, pat dry and lather on some moisturizing cream to rehydrate
Epsom salts with warm water baths create an ideal environment for tissue healing and reducing the acid build up in the feet.
Gold Ball Massage
One of the most popular home remedies for heel spurs. This relieves pressure and breaks down adhesions on the plantar fascia. This remedy does not treat heel spurs but offers pain relief.
Simply place a tennis ball or golf ball and roll it beneath the foot. The goodness with this remedy is that it is so easy and can be done while doing your work at the office or in the house. Rolling your foot on a ball also helps to loosen the tendons on the bottom of the foot providing relief for plantar fasciitis.
Foot exercises are an excellent way to relieve heel spur pain and part of the long term treatment.
Active foot stabilization exercises are an excellent long term solution to prevent and control heel spurs. Range of movement stretching exercises helps rehabilitate injury and restore tissue flexibility. This allows healthier less painful movement and activity.
Do calf stretches and plantar stretches twice daily. Cycling and foot exercises are also good heel spur pain and plantar fasciitis.
Choosing the right type and size of shoes is also a great way of offering heel support and relieving pain. Best shoes for heel spurs should have proper fittings; heel cups, dynamic insoles, and custom orthotics. Custom orthotics can be bought over the counter or specially fitted by a podiatrist.
Homeopathic Remedies for Heel Spurs
Homeopathic remedies for heel spurs not only work on the feet but focus on the patient as a whole. Medicines used in homeopathy are individualized and treat general symptoms. Homeopathy offers great relief in many cases but does not offer treatment nor reverse the bony growth. Medicines used in homeopathy for heel spurs include;
- Zincum met
Note that none of these homeopathic medicines should be used without professional advice.
Home Remedies for Heel Spur Pain
Heel spurs can be effectively managed by treating the underlying associated inflammatory disease, wearing proper footwear with orthotics, and regular stretches. With home remedies for heel spurs pain, the outlook is generally good. Inflammation usually responds to these treatments.
How to prevent heel spurs and plantar fasciitis
- Control weight and stay on the healthy range
- Allow your feet to rest especially after long hours on your feet
- Do not go barefoot on hard surfaces
- Avoid standing for long hours
- Stretch and massage your feet before rising in the morning
- Consult with your doctor on taking calcium, magnesium, and omega 3 fatty acid supplements
- Eat a healthy balanced diet with lots of fruits and green leafy vegetables
If you are looking for how to get rid of heel spurs, remember that home remedies for heel spurs seek to make the condition better with less pain and inflammatory symptoms. However, if your condition is severe or if you are diabetic or having problems with your circulation, please consult your doctor for better management.
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