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Horseback riding and heel spurs

Posted by Hill H. on 2/07/02 at 19:31 (072967)

None of my docs seem to understand the mechanics of horseback riding as it relates to heel pain. I have heel spurs in both heels. I ride a couple of times/week jumpers and cross country- 'heels down' in other words. I have had heel pain for the last few months-becoming intolerable. I'm treating with ice, elevation, nsaids, and stretching. Soon to get some rigid custom orthotics. Do I have to quit riding? Maybe just until pain goes away?

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/08/02 at 11:51 (073032)

OH! I do know your problem! I am a prof. show horse trainer....'heels down' - & they absorb the shock & brakes! My heel pain began in April 2001, & I suffered thru show season w/ taping, umpteen cort. shots, orthotics & several different shoes & boots, golf cart travel at shows, & lots of help! In August, I quit riding & training - leaving my associate alot of work! Yes, Rest & staying off a horse helped....The, in late November, I had ESWT - am still rehabbing, but I am riding a bit too; not really training, though - just riding & you can understand what I am saying in that statement - unlike most doctors & others. I would highly recommend custom orthotics, Thorlo sox, & Ariat riding boots (Style #31080) & Birkenstock Bostons for r & r time. Be in touch....& maybe we can converse on the 'heels down' syndrome.....unfortunately, I've a 17 year old girl who is also suffering with this problem; hers started in June & she is doing phys. therapy at present, as they didn't wanna do the cort. route with her.

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/08/02 at 11:53 (073033)

I didn't make it clear that the 17 year old rider who also has P.F. - is a pupil here under me (not a daughter - didn't wanna make you think it was 'inherited trait' or something)....but she is an avid equitation student & a real over achiever......we even wondered if her irons that are pretty offset 'did us in' as I warm up her horse at sessions, as well as at shows.

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

Hillary T. on 2/08/02 at 14:11 (073056)

Jeeze, Rachael- I've got a green horse to school for my 12 yr old and this is making me nuts. I wonder if my new Sprenger 4-way stirrup irons did this to me? How about working without stirrups? More later. Hillary

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/08/02 at 19:44 (073098)

Most of the horses I ride - I'd not want to ride w/o irons! :-)
I don't think that your Springer 4 way irons did it to you - in fact, I bought both them & the large trail irons to accomodate my sore feet & ankles - while they mend. I think the 4way are helpful as they have some give to your feet & movement; not so rigid! What is your email? Maybe we can converse on horses more & exchange a photo!

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

Hill H. on 2/12/02 at 10:49 (073426)

rachel- did your pain start as a burning/blister feeling and get worse? My heels feel as if I have blisters under each heel. Will it get worse? I'm not sure what to do if I'm destined to get worse. hillary

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/12/02 at 12:17 (073442)

My pain began as if I were walking on a pea under my heel, accompanied by burning extremely on the sole of my foot! - then, it proceeded to be walking on KNIVES with burning & then, I couldn't bend my arch & 'tip toed' around! Many cort. shots later, I was stiff suffering - thus after alot of anti-inflamm., massages, tapings, Birkenstocks, Ariat boots & umpteen other shoes + orthotics, I had ESWT done - I am now much improved. I rode yesterday - & actually 'trained' a bit - not just rode. My pain is about a 1 or a 2 now -- opposed to 10++!! Yesterday, I actually felt pretty much pain free! I hope this continues. I also have found relief in capazacin cream - over the counter purchase at pharmacy!

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

Hillary T. on 2/12/02 at 13:25 (073452)

I am at the pea stage now, I guess, and I don't want to get to the knife stage. Sorry to be so whiny- I am so active and I don't love the idea of shots etc. I am going the way of orthotics, Ariats, icing. ibupro., and I'll try anything to stave off the pain. I am worried about making it worse by riding- I'm not sure whether to wait to ride again until my orthotics get here, to start taping now, or what. I have another life that depends on my mobility- three children!! Can I afford to lame myself for my 'hobby'? I'm afraid I'm going to 'shoot myself in the foot' if you know what I mean. I'm glad to know that you are feeling better- spring is no tme to be footsore!

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

paula on 2/12/02 at 17:44 (073508)

fot what it's worth i rode hunt seat when i was a teenager. got pf in middle age.

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/12/02 at 18:41 (073520)

Riding probably did aggravate my condition thru the summer - but that is my busy time of year w/ 20 head of show horses to condition, train & show. I constantly taped, iced, & ATE pills - didn't walk much - as I used a golf cart at all shows. And, actually, riding never hurt too much as long as I was taped heavy.....& I NEVER jumped off - I used a mounting block always to not stress the feet too much getting on & off the horses. But, when I stopped riding, I did see more improvement - the resting helped alot. So, I'd suggest resting to you MOSTof all - as that is what still supports my healing!! And, I think most others here agree with that!
What kind of horses do you ride? I train & compete with Am. Saddlebreds; gaited horses. One good thing - or 2 I should say....is that 1 of my adult amateur riders is a massage therapist - so she often massaged me at shows.....& another client is a podiatrist - so I had plenty of on the job advisement! Yesterday was a full barn day w/ the farriers here from 11am to 8:30pm which demanded me to be in the barn alot of hours & yes, I did ride just one horse yesterday - but today, I rested & of course, I still do ibuprufin & custom orthotics - I think RESTing is what I have to do now after a full day's work - I cannot go umpteen hrs. 24 / 7 like I used to do.....maybe in a few months? I hope!

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

Hillary T. on 2/12/02 at 19:17 (073524)

I have ridden all my life- but not in a professional capacity. I will say I mucked my fair share of stalls to get to ride, however. I used to event and ride jumpers as a junior in Vermont and North Carolina. My daughter (12) is a pony club kid- we bought a qh paint gelding for her who needed lots of work, so I have been schooling him - over fences-on and off for the last two years. I will ride anything anytime- hunt seat, however. I think i'm going to head for the dressage arena in the short term!
You ride a heck of a lot more than I do- do you have the same stresses on the foot with saddleseat that you do with huntseat? I keep wondering if this problem happens to other riders, or is it some other daily stress that brings it to the forefront. Like age maybe?

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/12/02 at 22:15 (073555)

Yes, I think age plays role in P.F. -- but I also know that using a treadmill on an incline excessively last winter after being tired from barn work did me in initially! I think riding was just an aggravation! I think if you take care of it NOW maybe you will beat it before it gets to be the monster that it has been for me. And, yes, I've another young girl in the barn who has it presently - she's 17 & must weight 95# & tall & lanky! Soooo???? Who knows? I've a friend, who also is a prof. trainer - he too got it but not for very long & he responded to cortisone injections favorably. I think our walking surface has alot to do with it - the indoor arena is bedded w/ sawdust - it has lots of holes, crannies & so forth in it from the horse's hoofprints....so stepping on uneven ground is difficult - just as a pasture would be uneven too. I suggest you do all the things you read in the Heelspur Book & from what you learn in the letters from this message board....& see a dr. so you don't end up in a chronic condition. Good luck w/ your horse!

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/08/02 at 11:51 (073032)

OH! I do know your problem! I am a prof. show horse trainer....'heels down' - & they absorb the shock & brakes! My heel pain began in April 2001, & I suffered thru show season w/ taping, umpteen cort. shots, orthotics & several different shoes & boots, golf cart travel at shows, & lots of help! In August, I quit riding & training - leaving my associate alot of work! Yes, Rest & staying off a horse helped....The, in late November, I had ESWT - am still rehabbing, but I am riding a bit too; not really training, though - just riding & you can understand what I am saying in that statement - unlike most doctors & others. I would highly recommend custom orthotics, Thorlo sox, & Ariat riding boots (Style #31080) & Birkenstock Bostons for r & r time. Be in touch....& maybe we can converse on the 'heels down' syndrome.....unfortunately, I've a 17 year old girl who is also suffering with this problem; hers started in June & she is doing phys. therapy at present, as they didn't wanna do the cort. route with her.

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/08/02 at 11:53 (073033)

I didn't make it clear that the 17 year old rider who also has P.F. - is a pupil here under me (not a daughter - didn't wanna make you think it was 'inherited trait' or something)....but she is an avid equitation student & a real over achiever......we even wondered if her irons that are pretty offset 'did us in' as I warm up her horse at sessions, as well as at shows.

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

Hillary T. on 2/08/02 at 14:11 (073056)

Jeeze, Rachael- I've got a green horse to school for my 12 yr old and this is making me nuts. I wonder if my new Sprenger 4-way stirrup irons did this to me? How about working without stirrups? More later. Hillary

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/08/02 at 19:44 (073098)

Most of the horses I ride - I'd not want to ride w/o irons! :-)
I don't think that your Springer 4 way irons did it to you - in fact, I bought both them & the large trail irons to accomodate my sore feet & ankles - while they mend. I think the 4way are helpful as they have some give to your feet & movement; not so rigid! What is your email? Maybe we can converse on horses more & exchange a photo!

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

Hill H. on 2/12/02 at 10:49 (073426)

rachel- did your pain start as a burning/blister feeling and get worse? My heels feel as if I have blisters under each heel. Will it get worse? I'm not sure what to do if I'm destined to get worse. hillary

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/12/02 at 12:17 (073442)

My pain began as if I were walking on a pea under my heel, accompanied by burning extremely on the sole of my foot! - then, it proceeded to be walking on KNIVES with burning & then, I couldn't bend my arch & 'tip toed' around! Many cort. shots later, I was stiff suffering - thus after alot of anti-inflamm., massages, tapings, Birkenstocks, Ariat boots & umpteen other shoes + orthotics, I had ESWT done - I am now much improved. I rode yesterday - & actually 'trained' a bit - not just rode. My pain is about a 1 or a 2 now -- opposed to 10++!! Yesterday, I actually felt pretty much pain free! I hope this continues. I also have found relief in capazacin cream - over the counter purchase at pharmacy!

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

Hillary T. on 2/12/02 at 13:25 (073452)

I am at the pea stage now, I guess, and I don't want to get to the knife stage. Sorry to be so whiny- I am so active and I don't love the idea of shots etc. I am going the way of orthotics, Ariats, icing. ibupro., and I'll try anything to stave off the pain. I am worried about making it worse by riding- I'm not sure whether to wait to ride again until my orthotics get here, to start taping now, or what. I have another life that depends on my mobility- three children!! Can I afford to lame myself for my 'hobby'? I'm afraid I'm going to 'shoot myself in the foot' if you know what I mean. I'm glad to know that you are feeling better- spring is no tme to be footsore!

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

paula on 2/12/02 at 17:44 (073508)

fot what it's worth i rode hunt seat when i was a teenager. got pf in middle age.

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/12/02 at 18:41 (073520)

Riding probably did aggravate my condition thru the summer - but that is my busy time of year w/ 20 head of show horses to condition, train & show. I constantly taped, iced, & ATE pills - didn't walk much - as I used a golf cart at all shows. And, actually, riding never hurt too much as long as I was taped heavy.....& I NEVER jumped off - I used a mounting block always to not stress the feet too much getting on & off the horses. But, when I stopped riding, I did see more improvement - the resting helped alot. So, I'd suggest resting to you MOSTof all - as that is what still supports my healing!! And, I think most others here agree with that!
What kind of horses do you ride? I train & compete with Am. Saddlebreds; gaited horses. One good thing - or 2 I should say....is that 1 of my adult amateur riders is a massage therapist - so she often massaged me at shows.....& another client is a podiatrist - so I had plenty of on the job advisement! Yesterday was a full barn day w/ the farriers here from 11am to 8:30pm which demanded me to be in the barn alot of hours & yes, I did ride just one horse yesterday - but today, I rested & of course, I still do ibuprufin & custom orthotics - I think RESTing is what I have to do now after a full day's work - I cannot go umpteen hrs. 24 / 7 like I used to do.....maybe in a few months? I hope!

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

Hillary T. on 2/12/02 at 19:17 (073524)

I have ridden all my life- but not in a professional capacity. I will say I mucked my fair share of stalls to get to ride, however. I used to event and ride jumpers as a junior in Vermont and North Carolina. My daughter (12) is a pony club kid- we bought a qh paint gelding for her who needed lots of work, so I have been schooling him - over fences-on and off for the last two years. I will ride anything anytime- hunt seat, however. I think i'm going to head for the dressage arena in the short term!
You ride a heck of a lot more than I do- do you have the same stresses on the foot with saddleseat that you do with huntseat? I keep wondering if this problem happens to other riders, or is it some other daily stress that brings it to the forefront. Like age maybe?

Re: Horseback riding and heel spurs

RACHAEL T. on 2/12/02 at 22:15 (073555)

Yes, I think age plays role in P.F. -- but I also know that using a treadmill on an incline excessively last winter after being tired from barn work did me in initially! I think riding was just an aggravation! I think if you take care of it NOW maybe you will beat it before it gets to be the monster that it has been for me. And, yes, I've another young girl in the barn who has it presently - she's 17 & must weight 95# & tall & lanky! Soooo???? Who knows? I've a friend, who also is a prof. trainer - he too got it but not for very long & he responded to cortisone injections favorably. I think our walking surface has alot to do with it - the indoor arena is bedded w/ sawdust - it has lots of holes, crannies & so forth in it from the horse's hoofprints....so stepping on uneven ground is difficult - just as a pasture would be uneven too. I suggest you do all the things you read in the Heelspur Book & from what you learn in the letters from this message board....& see a dr. so you don't end up in a chronic condition. Good luck w/ your horse!