Bone spurs affect people differently. They can be extremely painful, 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 naturally, and all of your treatment options before deciding on surgery.
Our medical director, Dr. Steven Burns, DPM, FACFAS, always considers each patients’ individual needs and lifestyle before suggesting surgery and typically coordinates a more conservative treatment option as a first line approach before surgery. Oftentimes, 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.
What are bone spurs?
Osteophytes, or bone spurs, are calcium deposits found on the bone, particularly on or around joints. 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.
What causes bone spurs?
Your body develops calcium deposits as an attempt to replace the cartilage that has been lost. Over time, the cartilage that cushions your foot and toe joints breaks down due to wear and tear—this is called osteoarthritis.
To alleviate your pain and to start treating bone spurs naturally and conservatively, follow our tips below.
1 – Stretching for bone spur relief
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 help naturally relieve 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 that prevents or alleviates pain from bone spurs
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 for bone spur swelling and pain
Applying a cold compress on your feet can naturally 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 especially 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 are in the optimal range. These vitamins can often 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 naturally 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.
Create a bone spur treatment plan with Arizona Foot Doctors
You can minimize your chances of surgery by utilizing these tips to relieve pain and dissolve bone spurs conservatively. Our podiatrists at Arizona Foot Doctors always consider non-invasive, conservative, and naturally 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.
Originally published: October 23, 2020