Means and methods of treatment of heel spurs

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 23.04.2024

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Among the foot enthesopathies, inflammation of the plantar fascia is considered to be the most common with the formation on the lower surface of the heel bone - on the sole side - spike-like ossification or, as it is called by physicians, marginal osteophyte. This osteophyte (enthesophyte) directed towards the metatarsal bones is the heel spur.

What means and methods of treatment of the heel spur are used in orthopedics and how can it be treated by alternative means? And will the heel spur pass without a cure?

Drug treatment of heel spurs at home

It should be borne in mind that without treatment of the heel spur is indispensable, but all therapeutic agents — medicamentous and alternative — are symptomatic, that is, they reduce pain and inflammation that limit the mobility of the foot.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of heel spurs, which inhibit the synthesis of inflammatory mediators (prostaglandins) - Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Indomethacin, Ketorol, etc. - Orthopedists are prescribed to be taken orally, if patients do not have such contraindications as a gastric ulcer, a duodenal ulcer, and a duodenal ulcer. Bronchial asthma, chronic liver disease, cardiac or renal failure, pregnancy and lactation. What other pills for the treatment of heel spurs are recommended, as well as their side effects and dosage, more details in the article -  Pills for pain in the legs

They also relieve, relieve inflammation and swelling of the soft tissues of the foot ointments and gels related to NSAIDs. In particular, Diclofenac treatment is carried out (other trade names are Diclak-gel, Diclofenacol, Dicloran, Voltaren), Ibuprofen, Ketonalom (Ketoprofen) and others. Full information in the material -  Ointment from heel spur

Treatment of heel spurs with Dimexidum (Dimethylsulfoxide) is also aimed at relieving the symptoms of this enthesopathy; It is recommended to apply a 50% solution of the drug to the painful area of the heel and foot two or three times a day. Even better, a compress with Dimexidum relieves pain: a 30–40% solution of this drug is made to wet the napkin, the compress is covered with plastic and natural cloth; you need to keep it no longer than 25-30 minutes. Usually, the treatment of heel spurs at home with Dimexidum is carried out for two weeks (a compress can be done twice a day). It is very convenient to use 25% Dimexide Gel, as well as Dolube Doobene containing Dimexide Gel and Yodditserin Solution.

A very strong pain can arrest the treatment with dimexide with novocaine, for which the composition for a compress should contain one part of a 40% dimethyl sulfoxide solution and two parts of a 2% solution of novocaine (produced in ampoules).

Dimexide is not used in the presence of serious problems with vision (glaucoma), with the cardiovascular system, liver, kidneys, as well as during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Since Vishnevsky's aseptic liniment treats purulent inflammation of the skin and necrosis of subcutaneous tissues, treatment with Vishnevsky ointment is not used in orthopedics. Also, dawn cream treatment is not prescribed (this ointment is used in veterinary medicine) and Vasna's chitosan gel treatment (it is a cosmeceutical remedy for problem skin).

But various patches for heel spur, due to their distracting effect, are often used. This is a common pepper plaster (helps reduce pain), similar in effect to menthol plaster (Clifton, Mentopas, TetaPlast, Neobun menthol plaster, etc.), as well as Chinese plaster with pepper, ginger, camphor and menthol (Tongluo Qutong). But waterproof patches with silver are not used: it is a means for better healing of open wounds and burns.

During exacerbation of the inflammatory process, treatment of the heel spur with cold helps to reduce pain: during the day a bag with ice is applied to the sore spot several times for a quarter of an hour.

And without exacerbation, doctors recommend doing various compresses. For example, treatment with bile at home reduces to putting a compress from medical bile for 10–15 minutes after holding your feet in moderately hot water: moisten a piece of bandage with undiluted bile, put it on a sore spot, close with compress paper, top fastening a bandage (you can wear socks and go to sleep). Due to blood flow, trophic tissue improves and inflammation subsides. This procedure is performed every evening for at least two to three weeks.

In a similar way, an alcohol wrap is made with a heel spur. In addition, the relief of pain syndrome contributes to the treatment of bischofite - a multicomponent natural mineral salt solution: by rubbing or compresses (also put up for the night - every other day for a month).

If the patient prefers homeopathy treatment, then experts call such topical preparations as Traumeel,  Objective T  and Revma-Gel.

In addition, homeopaths can prescribe: Calcarea flourica, Rhus toxicodendron, Aranea diadema, Ruta graveolens, Ammonium muriaticum.

In cases where neither ingestion of NSAIDs or external agents give the desired result, and the pain becomes unbearable, you have to make injections with a heel spur - periarticular injections of glucocorticoid drugs, often in combination with novocaine. But experts treat Diprospan, Betamethasone Dipropionate, Methylprednisolone and Hydrocortisone treatment with great caution, since the administration of drugs from this pharmacological group to the joint area can lead to structural changes in bone tissue and cartilage, atrophy of the subcutaneous tissue and muscle fibers, and the integrity of the tendons.

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Alternative home heel spur treatment

If specialists know the difference between the marginal osteophyte of the calcaneus and the retrocalcaleanal (posterior) exostosis (Haglund deformity, which is part of the triad of the syndrome of the same name), then many people far from medicine consider the heel spur a dense cartilage growth on the back side of the heel where there is Achilles tendon.

Haglund's deformity is called the hindspape or Achilles spur, and it occurs as a complication of Achilles tendon inflammation or calcaneal articular bursa. Why are we talking about this? Because many recipes for heel spur treatment available on the Internet by alternative means at home seem to be designed specifically for the Achilles spur. Also come across tips that are applicable only for dry calluses (natoptysh) on the soles of the feet or when they hyperkeratosis.

How to choose an effective treatment at home? Perhaps, if an alternative means really helps, the doctor recommends it to his patients...

So, doctors confirm that the treatment of heel spur with salt can reduce the intensity of pain, for which it is enough to do baths with salt daily for two weeks (50-60 g of salt per liter of water). In some recipes, in addition to salt, it is advised to add vinegar, soap, soda to the water, but this does not increase the effectiveness of this procedure.

Well removes swelling of the foot and pain in the heel treatment with sea salt (the same bath); treatment with salt from the Dead Sea is best done using compresses and lotions. But the treatment of heel spurs on the sea (that is, relief of its symptoms) can be carried out simply by walking barefoot on the line of the surf and hot sand.

Treatment with turpentine: it is recommended to rub the skin of the sole near the calcaneus or make a compress with subsequent warming. Turpentine oil (refined turpentine oil) causes irritation at the site of its application, and this has a distracting and analgesic effect. A reflex expansion of capillaries enhances microcirculation and tissue metabolism.

Treatment with kerosene: rub a sore spot with a mixture of kerosene with table salt (50 g of each ingredient) or a composition of kerosene with ethyl alcohol (in equal proportions). It should be borne in mind that kerosene can cause a chemical burn of the skin.

Identical to the use of pepper patch treatment with pepper (bitter, containing alkaloid capsaicin), and this is also to reduce pain and inflammation due to reflex blood rush. The same effect - due to the action of glycoside sinigrin - gives treatment with mustard or horseradish treatment (compresses with freshly grated root), as well as treatment with black radish (which is rubbed on a fine grater and applied to the heel at night).

Aspirin treatment: the composition for compresses (which are applied overnight) includes 200 ml of medical alcohol, 5 g of aspirin (powdered) and 25 g of red pepper (ground). And the treatment of heel spurs with iodine and aspirin is carried out with applications from a mixture of equal amounts of crushed aspirin and 5% alcohol solution of iodine.

In this case, iodine acts as a local irritant (principle of action mentioned above), therefore, from a pharmacological point of view, treatment of heel spur with iodine at home can be attributed to effective methods.

By the way, vinegar, honey, salt and iodine from heel spurs appear in many alternative recipes. And if we somehow dealt with salt and iodine, the doctors do not comment on the treatment with honey - in the form of compresses with the addition of salt. But Apizartron ointment with bee venom is effective for pain, including those caused by calcaneal osteophytes.

You can try the treatment with vinegar at home - vinegar brew of autumn crocus (10: 1) as an analgesic rubbing.

It will help relieve pain with alcohol treatment - if it is formic alcohol (ethyl alcohol + formic acid). And so that the anesthetic effect is given by the treatment with vodka, it is better to prepare a tincture for rubbing from the calamus root of the marsh or the flowers of the usual lilac. Herbalists guarantee pain subside if the treatment is carried out with a lilac (its tincture).

How can clay help to treat heel spurs? Due to its adsorbing properties, it removes accumulated "waste" of metabolism from tissues, helps to relieve swelling and reduce pain. For a clay compress you only need clay and lukewarm water, and the mixed mass should have a thick change consistency. As it should be, the compress should be covered with a moisture-proof material and insulated, the standard procedure time is 60-90 minutes.

Alternative treatment of the heel spur with vinegar and an egg is only suitable for retrocalculal exostosis (bumps on the heels) - in the form of compresses. With burns, treatment with egg, vinegar and oil is fraught with the use of concentrated acetic acid, not table vinegar (as recommended in some recipes). After being dissolved in the acid of the shell of the raw egg, vegetable oil is added. This method can be used to get rid of horny corns (while healthy tissues are protected with adhesive tape).

Recommended in some sources, treatment with lemon or cabbage leaf is in doubt. The beneficial properties of lemon are applied topically for mycoses, acne and skin hyperpigmentation; lemon peel soften hardened calluses. A cabbage leaf pull purulent exudate with phlegmon and treat mastitis.

Treatment with onions (which is recommended to be tied to the heels) is not justified by anything: volatile phytoncides of onions do not penetrate through the skin. But here the old calluses of onion gruel reduces quite successfully - due to the presence of organic acids in its composition.

The assertion that the treatment with garlic — compresses or applications with a mixture of garlic gruel with vodka, salt or grated soap — dissolves the osteophytes, to put it mildly, exaggerated. But such procedures help with fungal diseases of the feet.

Treatment of heel spurs with lard is proposed: systematically lubricating the Achilles spur (lump on the heel) with Smaltsev, it is possible with time to ensure that it does not become so hard. And rubbing keratinous skin with heels with raw lard helps to soften it and heal cracks.

Such dubious folk remedies for treating heel spurs at home are often suggested, such as:

  • treatment with propolis (externally it is better to use it not even with the sternocarpal spurs, but for better healing of skin lesions);
  • treatment with apple cider vinegar (it is used for varicose veins) or treatment of calcaneal spur with Kombucha;
  • treatment with tar or treatment with grease (keratoses and psoriasis are treated with drugs with tar and ointments on the basis of grease);
  • treatment with liquid ammonia even mixed with sunflower oil will not help at all, but in combination with glycerin it will help with corns and cracks on the heels;
  • potato treatment (raw or boiled) is used to soften the cornified skin on the heels.

Compresses with urine or baths of heated urine, some struggle with cracks on the heels and hardened calluses (due to the action of urea), but it is not known whether urine treatment is possible.

According to official information, the pain is effectively reduced by foil treatment - by wrapping the foot (for one to two hours a day) with ordinary food foil, as well as by copper treatment - by placing and fixing the copper plate on the sore portion of the sole. The analgesic effect is explained by the difference between the electrical activity of the skin and the electrical potential of the metal: when it comes into contact with the skin, the conduction of pain impulses through the ion channels of the presynaptic membranes of nerve endings decreases.


Treatment of heel spurs with herbs

We give the most popular recipes for the treatment of heel spurs medicinal plants.

Helps to reduce pain and swelling with burdock treatment: compresses from fresh leaves of burdock cobweb do at night (always after hot foot baths). With the same purpose in alternative medicine use fresh leaves of peppermint, major and aspen. When gout is advised to take inside a decoction of burdock root, but it is not known whether this tool helps with osteophyte heel bone.

Treatment with plantain is unlikely to give a positive result, since the leaves of this plant are most often applied to boils, mature and itchy skin.

It is advised to carry out the treatment of stinging nettle or stinging: compresses from ground ground parts of the plant or from scalded leaves. But it is better, nevertheless, the first option: the formic acid contained in the burning hairs of the plant does not lose its irritating properties to the skin during grinding.

The tincture of lilac flowers has already been mentioned above, and spirit tinctures of sabelnik (ground parts and rhizomes), yellow bean roots, white stems, or star grass (moorite) are used in the same way. In addition, the treatment with lice is a daily application of steamed grass to a sore spot for two to three hours (with dressing applied) or compresses with its decoction.

Treatment with golden mustache (fragrant callus): you can use ready-made ointments and balms (with the addition of extracts of other plants or bee venom), or you can make the tincture yourself on vodka (for grinding) or ointment. The composition of such an ointment approximately in equal proportions includes the cranked shoots of callusia crushed into a gruel and lard (or any other natural fat). It is recommended to apply the ointment every day - after the hot foot bath, put on cotton socks, and woolen ones on top.

According to experts, the duration of treatment for heel spurs depends on many factors, including concomitant diseases. Special insoles for the treatment of the heel spur will be reduced: the thickened, with apertures at the base of the calcaneus.


In addition to improving blood circulation, metabolism and trophic foot tissue, heel spur is treated with massage, physiotherapy procedures using ozokerite, paraffin and therapeutic mud are used.

Treatment with ozokerite and paraffin treatment is carried out with compresses and applications that warm up deeply located tissues, which improves their trophism and relieves pain.

In the sanatorium, treatment of the heel spur with mud (pelotherapy) is carried out in the form of applications and baths for the feet with  therapeutic mud  - sulphide silt mud (for example, peloids of the Sivash or Kuyalnik liman, Dead Sea mud, etc.). In the absence of contraindications may be assigned to hydrogen sulfide baths.

Apparatus physiotherapy treatment may include:

  • conventional iontophoresis (with iodine preparations, dimexidum, novocaine) or electrophoresis in the treatment of heel spurs;
  • ultrasound therapy  - ultrasound treatment with hydrocortisone;
  • darsonval treatment -  local darsonvalization with  high-frequency electric current pulses;
  • treatment with a magnet - the influence of an alternating electromagnetic field of various frequencies; At home you can be treated Almagom-01 - an apparatus for magnetic therapy;
  • laser therapy  - treatment of the heel spur with a laser (semiconductor or helium-neon), which helps soften the marginal osteophyte;  
  • treatment of heel spurs by irradiation with the help of radiotherapy facilities, that is, x-ray treatment will stop the growth of osteophyte; a short-focus or long-focus X-ray tube can be used;

Today, among all physiotherapy apparatus methods, shock wave therapy or shock wave treatment for the calcaneal spur has been recognized by specialists as the most effective, because under the action of low-frequency ultrasonic waves, the calcaneal osteophyte softens and collapses. Contraindications to the use of this method are hematological diseases and the tendency to form blood clots, increased or decreased blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, infectious diseases, the presence of malignant neoplasms and pregnancy.

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Treatment of heel spurs with Denas apparatus

According to the manufacturers of this device, the therapeutic effect is carried out by dynamic electroneurostimulation. The indications for its use are not indicated diseases of the musculoskeletal system, accompanied by the formation of bone osteophytes and exostoses. Obviously, Denas treatment is not performed.

Vitafon treatment

Judging by the fact that the Vitafon apparatus creates mechanical microvibrations in the tissues and activates the lymph and blood circulation with vibroacoustic effects, treatment with the Vitafon at home can be an alternative to regular massage. But specifically the osteophyte of the calcaneus is not indicated in the instructions for the device.

Bioptron treatment

The device Bioptron (Zepter Bioptron) acts on the tissues of the body (as indicated in the instructions, at the level of cell membranes) with polarized polychromatic incoherent light, that is, phototherapy is carried out  (phototherapy). Of the diseases of the musculoskeletal system, the instructions mention: arthritis and osteoarthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylitis, myalgia, damage and pain in the joints.

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Heel spur: Imedis treatment

This unit uses the principles of bioresonance therapy and affects the body with variable electromagnetic radiation. Among the pathologies of skeletal structures, this method is used for arthritis and bursitis.

Surgical treatment of heel spurs

Only in cases that are not amenable to other therapeutic methods, it may be necessary to have a rather complicated and not always effective surgical treatment of the heel spur by removing it.

An open access operation, which is fraught with serious complications and requires long postoperative rehabilitation, is now rarely performed. More often resort to minimally invasive interventions: endoscopic or under x-ray control.

In order not to bring the case to the operation, with pain in the heel, go to the orthopedist. And if it is an osteophyte of the calcaneus, then there are effective means and methods for the treatment of the calcaneal spur.


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