The Best Shoes For Heel Spurs
Many Americans suffer from heel spurs, which affect their walking gaits and can lead to serious complications, including cramping calf muscles, sciatica, and back pain. If you suffer from any type of foot pain, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or heel spurs, it’s essential to find the right shoes to minimize the impact and symptoms of your condition.
What Is a Heel Spur?
A bone spur is a bony protrusion caused by an extensive calcium deposit on a bone. These can occur anywhere, particularly in areas of constant minor trauma.
A heel spur is when this deposit occurs in your heel bone. In minor instances, the heel spur is painless, but large spurs can cause significant foot and heel pain.
Heel spurs develop as a response to trauma or damage to your heel. If you run with an exaggerated heel strike, have flat feet or high arches, or have recently gained weight, you may start to develop calcium deposits, which lead to heel spurs. Your running style has a huge impact on your feet, and bad form will lead to heel pain that not even the best shoes can fix.
Heel spurs often get confused with another foot condition, plantar fasciitis, which also causes heel pain. While they have similar symptoms, the causes and treatments are completely different.
Plantar fasciitis is due to overuse of the plantar fascia, which connects the heel to the front of the foot. While it also causes heel pain, plantar fasciitis will extend throughout the foot's arch and bottom and leads to longer-lasting conditions.
The symptoms of heel spurs can vary from relatively minor to incredibly severe heel pain. The condition doesn't just affect the heel bone; it also affects the soft tissue around the bone, leading to jabbing pain that fades into a dull ache in the heel bone.
Treatments for Heel Spurs
Luckily, there are plenty of options to treat and prevent heel spurs from getting worse and causing more heel pain. There are non-surgical and surgical options, depending on the severity of the condition.
Counter-intuitively, heel spurs can worsen after prolonged rest. Instead, you should focus on physical therapy that addresses the underlying cause of the condition. Potential solutions include:
- Foot stretching exercises
- Supportive or orthopedic shoes for heel spurs
- Night splints
- Over-the-counter medications such as anti-inflammatories or pain-killers for pain relief
In serious cases where physical therapy is not enough, or if the bone spur has developed to the point where it's causing significant soft tissue damage as well as heel pain, surgery becomes an option.
While the surgical process itself is relatively simple, the pre- and post-surgical processes are time-consuming and laborious. You'll have to go through thorough testing before the operation and will need to spend several weeks recovering afterward.
Heel Spur Prevention
With heel spurs and any other foot condition, prevention is better than finding a cure. Choosing the right type of running shoe that fits well and offers arch support is essential if you're a runner, as is evaluating your running style.
If you're an avid walker, you should consider investing in a walking shoe that has supportive heel counters, rigid shanks, and fits your foot well.
Other methods of heel spur prevention include altering your running gait to be more healthy if you're a heel striker, maintaining healthy body weight, and warming up thoroughly before any intensive exercise.
Another prevention option is to evaluate your running style. If you tend to heel strike when you run, take time to learn proper running form to prevent major injuries in the future. Heel striking can lead to several complications, including heel spurs and plantar fascia injuries. Even the best shoes for heel spurs can't completely compensate for a poor running style.
What to Look for When Shopping for Shoes
Correct shoe choice is essential for preventing or minimizing the impact of heel spurs on your feet. When you start shopping around, consider the following factors and find the best shoe for your needs:
- Arch support: if your feet have abnormal arches that are either too high or low, finding the right shoe to support your arch comfortably is essential to avoid injury. In serious cases, you should consider getting shoe inserts that provide extensive heel and arch support.
- Shock absorbent soles: try to buy shoes with good shock absorption and cushioning. These will prevent additional trauma to your heel, allowing the bone spurs to heal, and provide some pain relief while walking.
- Cushioning technology: cushioning has made a big comeback in the running world after the barefoot trend of the early 2000s. However, many runners worry about the energy return of running on highly cushioned shoes that absorb much of the energy that is useful for running. Try to get footwear with smart cushioning that absorbs impact while still providing a firm and energy-efficient ride.
- Removable insoles: if you have supportive shoe inserts, having removable inserts will make changing out your inserts much easier.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS
Offers from $94-946.
The Brooks Adrenaline is one of the most comfortable shoes on the market and is excellent for people who suffer from heel pain. The Adrenaline GTS has an engineered mesh upper to ensure a snug fit, which will keep your foot stable. It also features Brooks' patented Segmented Crash Pad technology that will absorb shock throughout the foot.
The Adrenaline GTS uses BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning that provides excellent comfort for your feet while still providing the support necessary to deal with heel spurs and heel pain. The guide rails in the midsole provide extra midsole cushioning, ensuring your foot stays firmly planted and doesn't move around in the shoe.
Overall, we think that this is one of the best walking shoes for heel pain. The superior cushioning, support, and mesh upper provide the midsole and heel support to prevent injury and minimize foot pain.
New Balance 1260
Offers from $120-261.
The New Balance 1260 is one of the best and most popular running shoes, particularly for people who overpronate. It has one of the best cushioning systems of any shoe while still feeling springy and comfortable.
The New Balance 1260 doesn't have the same cushioning throughout the shoe. Instead, it has heavier cushioning in the heel and has a slightly unbalanced heel counter to provide better heel stability for overpronators, minimizing heel pain.
The shoe upper also has a lot of the same design philosophy, with a tight mesh that holds feet firmly in the shoe while providing lateral and vertical support. Many people tend to favor one side of the shoe, and having a stiff mesh helps counteract that tendency, resulting in a more stable and comfortable shoe, both for running and walking.
Mizuno Wave Rider
Offers from $56-$105.
Mizuno has been making shoes since 1906, primarily for athletes in the Japanese baseball scene. It moved into the international market in 1988 with its first running shoe and has earned a reputation for itself as the best thought-leader in the field.
The Wave Rider is the quintessential running shoe with several interesting features. The shoe has a plastic plate under the arch, which absorbs much of the force and disperses it throughout the shoe. The superior Cloudwave cushioning absorbs the rest of the force, leading to a smoother and softer footfall, which will help prevent heel pain.
The Mizuno Wave Rider is widely considered the best entry-level running shoe, slowly becoming better recognized in the US. We think it's one of the best shoes for heel pain, largely due to the Wave plate that channels energy away from the foot's sole with every step.
Hoka One One Clifton
Offers from $98-$235.
The Hoka One One Clifton takes cushioning and support to an entirely new level. Unlike many other shoes with lots of cushioning, you still get a firm step with the Hoka One One without feeling like you're walking on marshmallows.
The secret to Hoka's success is the one-piece foam that travels from the midsole to heel and up around the foot to provide excellent lateral and vertical support. It also has a curved rubber outsole that smoothens the transition between heel and toe strike, which reduces the impact of running on the heels.
Offers from $128-$280.
Some shoes have been around for a while, and the Gel-Kayano series is the quintessential example of how refinement can lead to an excellent shoe design. Asics keeps up with running technology and incorporates it into their latest series of shoes.
What makes these excellent heel spur shoes is that they have two layers of cushioning: The FlyteFoam Lyte offers superior cushioning, while the FlyteFoam Propel absorbs and releases energy from your foot strike when you need it the most.
We like the Heel Clutching System, a heel cup that minimizes the heel and shoe gap. Many shoes for heel spurs still have some wiggle-room, which results in pain whenever your foot hits the bottom of the shoe. Thanks to this useful bit of tech, these are some of the best running shoes for heel pain.
The Gel-Kayano shoe isn't all about the heel; it also has a generous toe box for wide feet that accommodates different running styles. Whether you're looking for a walking shoe or need a new pair of running shoes for heel spurs, these Asics are an excellent option.
What About Sandals?
We understand the need for toe-off summer shoes, even though they aren't the best choice for heel pain. If you choose to wear a pair of sandals, make sure to stick to shoes for heel spurs, which means ones that have the best support possible. They may not be the best shoes for heel spurs overall or have the classy style of a real fashion item, but they can help you combat painful conditions like heel spurs while still enjoying the summer.
If you're still unsure what items to add to your shoe list, we always have someone on hand to help you make your choice. We're open Mon-Fri and are always ready to help get to the bottom of your heel pain.
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