Hey, this is a no brainer!!! It shouldn't hurt to get up in the morning! I mean this in all different ways, but physically speaking, it doesn't take a genius to know something is wrong when there is a fear of what it is going to feel like upon stepping out of bed. People with heel spurs know all to well, that pain in the morning, and pain throughout the day, as they walk, is a reality. The first steps in the morning may feel like a sharp stabbing pain, while there might be a dull aching pain throughout the rest of the day. And this gets old really fast! So how do you know you have them? What are some of the heel spur symptoms? Oh no! Here's the bad/good news! Heel spurs, more often than not, have no signs or symptoms. Most don't even feel any pain, and may therefore never know they have them. This is because, the heel spur may not be these sharp pointy pieces of bone on the front or back of the heel. Rather it might just be a calcium deposit that naturally occurs through normal bone-forming mechanisms. So often heel spurs might be smooth and flat, just like the rest of the heel, and so may not cause many problems. On the other hand, look at an x-ray of a person with bone spurs, and you may find pictures of heels that have what appears to be hooks on the front of the heel, or pointing up in the back of the heel. Just looking at some of these x-rays cause me to cringe, for it looks like a person with those would be in tremendous amount of pain. So although there are no diagnosiable symptoms, the thing to look for in heel spurs is an intermittent pain or a chronic pain, especially upon first stepping out of bed, or even while walking, jogging, or running. What Is Really Going On... When a heel spur occurs, a heel is having a calcium deposit that is building up (again not always pointing like a claw). The problem is at the site of the heel spur, there is already tissue that is present. As the heel spur grows, the tissue has less room causing surrounding tissue to get inflamed, leading to the symptoms of having this chronic heel pain. It is not that the hook is necessarily tearing away at the surrounding tissue, as the tissue is more or less restricted, which causes inflammation. Sometimes what can even happen around the bony spur, new fibrous tissue may also be developing, trying to act as a cushion over this stressed area. This tissue callouses and might even expand to being bigger than the heel spur, leading to once again, less space around the nerves, ligaments, tendons, and other supporting tissues. So now there is calcium buildup and tissue buildup. This limited space causes chronic pain, swelling, and may even bring redness to the foot in the area of the spur. Diagnosing Heel Spurs As I have stated before, first you need to figure out where in the foot the pain is coming from. Is it the heel? The toes? The arches? Heel spurs usually will make your heels hurt. However because heel spurs do not have specific symptoms, it is best to identify them by going to the doctor and having them take an x-ray or use ultrasound imaging. What Might Be Causing the Pain Another thing to consider is what might actually be causing the pain. Did it develop quickly, or did a mild dull ache never go away and has worsened to chronic pain. Some reasons you may have foot pain may be -Impact Injuries -Repetitive Overuse -Wearing High Heels or Poor Footwear -Jogging, Running, or Other Strenuous Activity -Flat feet or high arches Here is a good rule. Take Care of Your Feet Because They Take Care Of You! If you are experiencing chronic pain or dreading getting out of bed in the morning, make sure you are doing something about it. At the very least, try stretching, compression therapy (using socks), ice, ibuprofen, and going to the doctor if it continues. Don't wait six months to see if it will go away. There are things you can do now to help improve your life and get rid of this chronic pain. So don't hesitate to care for your feet. As always, stay healthy so you can stay fit! Cheers, Drew
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