Bone spurs, if you’ve had them, can be extremely painful or barely noticeable, or somewhere in between. Each patient’s case is unique, which is why it’s essential to learn about bone spurs, how to dissolve them, and your treatment options in full before leaping to start surgery. Our medical director, Dr. Steven Burns, DPM, FACFAS, always considers each patients’ unique needs and lifestyle before suggesting surgery and typically coordinates a more conservative treatment option before surgery as an option. Why? Bone spurs can be dissolved and pain can be alleviated without taking a scalpel to your feet. For many, surgery can be more disruptive than the bone spur itself.
So, what are bone spurs? What do you need to know? Osteophytes, or bone spurs, are calcium deposits found on the bone, particularly on or around joints. Over time, the cartilage that cushions your foot and toe joints break down due to wear and tear—this is called osteoarthritis. Your body develops these calcium deposits as an attempt to replace the cartilage that has been lost.
For some, bone spurs on the feet and toes can cause limited mobility, severe joint pain, and numbness. For others, bone spurs can go unnoticed for years because of the lack of symptoms. Each case is unique, which is why it’s crucial to meet with a podiatrist for professional evaluation and diagnosis.
To alleviate your pain and to start treating bone spurs conservatively, follow our tips below.
1 – Stretching
Stretching your toes, feet, and ankles can alleviate pressure and strain whether you experience a toe bone spur or a heel bone spur. Here are some stretches you can do at home or at work to alleviate pain and discomfort.
- Sit with your legs stretched in front of you.
- Reach for your toes and pull them back toward you.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat several times.
- Squat with your back against the wall.
- Slowly lift your heels while your toes stay on the floor.
- After a few seconds, lower your heels.
- Repeat ten times.
Wall calf stretch
- Face the wall a few feet back with your left foot in front of your right foot.
- Lean toward the wall, allowing your left knee to bend slightly.
- Let your left foot support your weight.
- Keep your right knee straight and lift your right heel off the ground.
- Hold your position for 20 seconds.
- Switch the positions of your left and right foot and repeat several times for each side.
2 – Footwear
Purchasing the proper, supportive footwear is one option for getting rid of bone spurs without surgery. Choose footwear that is cushioned, flexible, and allows for movement. Shoes that are too tight can damage the bones and tendons in your feet, encouraging the growth of bone spurs. If you’re having trouble finding the proper footwear for your toe bone spur or heel bone spur, custom orthotics and inserts can be tailored to fit you. Custom orthotics provide cushion and support to your feet, which can prevent bone spurs from occurring or alleviate already present pain. Speak with our podiatrists at Arizona Foot Doctors if you’re interested in being fitted for custom orthotics.
3 – Ice packs
Applying a cold compress on your feet can relieve swelling and pain. Place an ice pack or frozen water bottle on your foot for at least 10 minutes at a time. If you have a toe bone spur, place the bag on the top of your toes.
4 – Vitamins and supplements
Vitamins and minerals are an important defense against bone spurs. If you have osteoarthritis, it is important to make sure you are not deficient in calcium. Since magnesium and vitamin D are essential for the absorption of calcium, you will also want to be sure your levels of these are not low. These vitamins should be obtained through your diet. However, if you’re showing deficiencies, speak with your doctor to determine if supplements are right for you.
5 – Massage therapy
Massages are useful for relieving and managing pain. To alleviate the pain associated with a heel bone spur, a massage therapist might apply a massage to the calf muscles. This stimulates blood circulation which causes the calf muscle to relax, putting less strain under the foot.
For a massage that you can do yourself, use a small ball and roll it on the bottom of your foot. This can be done while you’re working at a desk or on the couch watching television. Many people follow this method to bring immediate and lasting relief.
Connect with Arizona Foot Doctors, today
Knowing how to relieve pain and dissolve bone spurs conservatively, you can minimize your chances of surgery. Our podiatrists at Arizona Foot Doctors always consider non-invasive, conservative, and effective bone spur treatments first. Even if you do consider surgery, our podiatrists are there to advise you along the way. Speak with us today to evaluate your toe bone spur or heel bone spur. Together, we will create a bone spur treatment plan that fits your lifestyle and unique needs.