Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Husband heel Spurs-extreme pain x 5 months

Posted by Gina K on 1/06/04 at 15:12 (141493)

My husband has heel spurs. We now realize he's actually had them for many years, but buying new shoes every six months has prevented them from getting worse. His trade is in air conditioning and over the 3 years he is working most of his days on solid concrete, between this and the extra 20 pounds he's gained in the last 3 years...we believe is what sent his spurs to the next level.

Since September this year his spurs/plantar tear has progressively gotten worse. He is in extreme pain daily, it takes him awhile to step on them in the morning, and while they used to get better once he was up for awhile, his pain is now constant throughout the day.

We have tried boots that he wears to bed to keep his foot flexed. We orders orthodics on the internet, and I believe the arch was not high enough in those, so they've offered no relief. His doctor prescribed 800mg Ibuprophin - does absolutely nothing.

The last resport was 2 weeks ago when he got extremely painful cortsizone injections in his heels. He got 2 days of relief out of them and says his pain level is back up to a 7/8 on a scale of 1-10 for the worst pain he's ever felt.

We have a stretching wheel, and he's tried stretching some with a golf ball underneath his foot. I am so desperately trying to find something that will offer some relief for him.

Surgery is not a good option, because there is not a guarantee with his job trade that they won't come back. He has a 'high' arch...

Please - if anyone has found that something else has worked...please let me know. Some advice on stretches that work...or does taping work? e-mail me at (email removed).

We've also tried magnesium/calcium from Saterlee combination to try and break down the spurs-to no avail!!

Thank you for your time!!

Re: Husband heel Spurs-extreme pain x 5 months

Dr. Zuckerman on 1/06/04 at 21:19 (141517)


Heel pain can be terrible as you know. Read the heel pain book. Take a look at ESWT treatment. I like the pf stretching.

Re: Husband heel Spurs-extreme pain x 5 months

Julie on 1/07/04 at 05:10 (141543)

Hi Gina

It's terrible to see someone you love in pain. Of course you want to do everything you can to help your husband, so you've come to the right place for information. Dr Z has suggested you read the heel pain book. Do so: it will give you a very good idea of what you and your husband are dealing with, and ways of dealing with it.

The first thing you should do is find a good podiatrist (perhaps you know someone who can recommend one; otherwise there is a search facility on this website that you can use to find some in your area). What your husband needs is a full examination and evaluation, including of his biomechanics (the way that he walks and stands) by someone who is trained and skilled in foot matters. With any luck (though it may take a bit of looking around and seeing more than one foot doctor) you'll find one who can prescribe a package of treatments that is targetted at the cause of the problem, and is prepared to work with your husband till he is better. Don't expect healing to be quick. It takes time, and it is going to be particularly difficult in his case as his job involves standing on hard surfaces (that is almost certainly one of the contributory causes of his problems).

The heel pain book will give you good ideas about self-treatment. You asked about taping. Many people here, including me, have found it extremely helpful, and you should certainly try it. Taping works by providing the support for the arch that the injured, inflamed fascia can no longer give: thus it 'rests' the fascia and contributes to healing as well as to pain relief. There are instructions and illustrations for a few effective techniques in the heel pain book: I used the simplest of them, two strips applied from the ball of the foot to the heel. He needs to experiment with the tension: it needs to be exactly right, neither too tight nor too loose, to be effective.

You also asked about stretching. He should avoid weight-bearing stretching. Some of the stretches commonly recommended for PF do more harm than good (e.g. the 'wall stretch' or classic runners' stretch, and the hanging-off-a-stair stretch). Dr Z mentioned his favourite 'pf stretch' - there is a description of it somewhere and if I can find a link for it I'll post it later. Some time ago I posted some gentle yoga foot exercises and if you click on the word yoga you will find them. They are safe and many have found them helpful (I did, and so have several PF-afflicted students of mine). (I'm a yoga teacher, by the way, not a doctor.)

When you see a podiatrist, he may prescribe custom orthotics to correct any biomechanical flaws and these may -hopefully - be more helpful than the oens you ordered on line.

One of the most important things to remember is - never go barefoot, which puts additional strain on the fascia.

I hope these suggestions will help your husband. Tell him he's lucky to have a wife who's eager to do research to help him!