Managing Heel Pain: Walking Shoe Options for Heel Spurs
Foot pain caused by heel spurs can greatly impact an individual's daily activities and overall quality of life, so understanding the causes and finding suitable footwear is essential for managing this condition.
The right walking shoes can provide the necessary cushioning, shock absorption, and arch support to alleviate discomfort and minimize pressure on the heel.
Let's also take a look at some of the top brands known for their comfortable walking shoes that can effectively address heel pain and enable individuals to maintain an active lifestyle.
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What are Heel Spurs?
Heel spurs or bone spurs are bony growths made up of calcium deposits that develop on the underside of the heel bone where the Achilles tendon is attached. They can be caused by repetitive strain or excessive pressure on the foot. These growths can be painful and can make walking or standing uncomfortable. They are a common foot problem, often affecting individuals who engage in intense and high-impact physical activities without proper footwear or while wearing flat shoes, which can strain their feet and soft tissues.
Some people are more prone to them than others, but a common factor that most foot doctors identify is the failure to wear athletic shoes or comfortable footwear when necessary.
Symptoms of Heel Spurs
Bone spurs are not a joke. They can cause mild to severe foot pain, particularly when stepping, walking, or simply wearing ill-fitting footwear. But pain is only one of a couple of symptoms that can be a warning sign.
When weight is placed on the affected foot, the spur can dig into the soft tissues, including the plantar fascia, causing sharp and stabbing pain. This sharp pain is often exacerbated after periods of rest or inactivity, such as upon waking up in the morning or after prolonged sitting. Walking, running, or standing for extended periods can also intensify the discomfort. The pain can be described as a constant ache, accompanied by a burning or throbbing sensation, making it difficult to engage in everyday activities and impacting overall mobility and quality of life.
Swelling and Inflammation in the Foot
As individuals walk or engage in activities, a heel spurs rub against the soft tissues like the plantar fascia, causing microtrauma and triggering an inflammatory response. This inflammation can result in swelling, redness, and pain in the affected area, making it uncomfortable to walk or bear weight on the foot.
It's actually the inflammation that causes most of the pain, and not the spur itself.
Difficulty Walking or Standing for Long Periods of Time
The combination of pain and discomfort from the bony spurs and the inflammation will cause those suffering from it to have a difficult time walking or standing, which will only make the spurs or plantar fasciitis worse and might lead to other conditions.
It is important to note that while bone spurs can cause foot pain and discomfort in a person, not all individuals with them experience symptoms. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment if experiencing heel pain.
Causes of Heel Spurs
There are several known causes of heel spurs, and almost all have to do with not taking care of how we step or what we wear. From plantar fasciitis to our weight, it's important to really understand the delicate balance involved in keeping us upright constantly. Just a bit of extra cushioning, for example, can affect our quality of life.
Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of bone spurs on your feet. It is characterized by inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Over time, this repetitive stress can lead to the formation of a heel spur, although plantar fasciitis pain in itself is enough of a reason to seek treatment.
Flat Feet, High Arches, Excessive Pronation
Pronation refers to the natural inward rolling motion of the foot while walking or running. However, excessive pronation can put extra strain on the plantar fascia, leading to heel spurs.
Moreover, having flat feet or high arches can alter the distribution of weight on the feet, increasing the likelihood of developing spurs. Flat feet can cause excessive pronation, while high arches can lead to increased pressure on the heel bone.
As people age, the flexibility and elasticity of tissues in the body, including the plantar fascia, tend to decrease. This can make the ligament more prone to damage and encourage the formation of heel spurs.
Overuse, Injury, or Stress to the Foot
Engaging in high-impact activities that involve repetitive stress on the feet, such as running, jumping, or dancing, can lead to heel spurs. These activities put extra strain on the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation, severe heel pain, and spur formation.
Along those same lines, there's also the danger of excess weight or obesity. Carrying excess weight puts additional pressure on the feet, including the plantar fascia, leading to plantar fasciitis. This can increase the risk of developing heel spurs.
Poorly Fitting Shoes
Wearing flat shoes that lack proper arch support or cushioning can contribute to the development of heel spurs. Ill-fitting shoes can also lead to an abnormal gait, putting strain on the plantar fascia and causing spurs.
Certain Medical Conditions
Conditions like arthritis, gout, and reactive arthritis can increase the risk of developing heel spurs. These conditions cause inflammation and damage to the joints, including those in the feet, leading to spur formation.
Benefits of the Right Walking Shoes
When seeking relief from bone spurs, any physical therapist or podiatrist will tell you it is crucial to prioritize proper footwear that offers adequate support and cushioning. Wearing the right, comfortable shoes can help alleviate pain and provide relief from the spurs.
It helps to provide adequate support and cushioning to the affected area, reducing the pressure and impact on the heel. Proper footwear designed for spurs often has features like arch support and comfortable heel cups, which promote proper foot alignment and reduce strain on the plantar fascia.
Furthermore, wearing the right shoes for your foot type can also prevent further damage and aid in the healing process by reducing inflammation and allowing for proper blood circulation.
What To Look for In Proper Footwear for Spur Relief
Shoes with good arch support help distribute weight evenly and reduce pressure on the heels, relieving pain caused by spurs. For the best shoes for heel spurs, look for walking shoes with a contoured footbed for the best support and stability.
Shoes with ample cushioning in the heel area absorb shock and provide extra comfort, reducing the impact on the heels. Most walking shoes have good cushioning, but running shoes might be an even better option as shoes for heel spurs for those who need strong relief. A good idea is to buy shoes that can include removable insoles so those flimsy insoles can be replaced with over-the-counter arch supports. This is especially helpful when the shoe lacks the needed support or cushioning, such as for special occasions when you require dress shoes with limited support.
Proper footwear with a firm heel counter and a snug fit helps stabilize the foot, preventing unnecessary movement and reducing strain on the heels.
Walking shoe options specifically designed for heel spurs often include features such as deep-cushioned heel cups and shock-absorbing midsoles to provide targeted relief and support. If you have wide feet, take this in mind and make sure the toe box and support are enough, no matter how big your shoes might seem. For your foot health, the design, support, and comfort are more important than how the shoe looks.
Best Shoe Brands for Heel Spurs
When dealing with spurs, it is important to wear appropriate walking shoes that provide the necessary support and shock absorption. As we mentioned, look for shoes with extra cushioning and a deep heel cup to help alleviate pressure on the heel and reduce discomfort. Supportive shoes that provide stability and proper alignment of the foot can also help in managing spurs, with most of them also being viable options as shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Brands known for comfortable walking shoes for people with heel pain include New Balance, Brooks, Olukai, Ecco, and Hoka. These brands offer a range of products that prioritize comfort and support, making them suitable for individuals dealing with heel spurs and heel spur pain.
Everything stated here are reasons why you should go to a shoe store, like Lucky Feet Shoes, where you can be fitted appropriately and have your questions answered. Your feet are important and need to be taken care of.Request Your Personal Fitting