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Athletics-Induced Heel Spurs: How to Stay on Track

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Whether you contracted athletics-induced heel spurs while training for the 2016 Olympics or while jogging with your high school track team, you're concerned and confused about how to proceed. On the one hand, you understand that the calcification growths on your feet can cause serious pain. On the other hand, you're committed to your sport; you want to get back on the track, gridiron, or court as quickly as possible to rejoin your teammates.

Here are some tips to help you recover quickly and avoid the dangers of “rushing back”:

  • Talk to a Pennsylvania podiatrist as soon as you can. The longer you live in denial about the heel spur, the more likely it will be that you will suffer pain and potential complications, and the harder the problem may ultimately be to treat.
  • Leverage your time off by investing more in your mental game. As an athlete, you know that winning is both a physical and mental process. If you cannot actively practice due to your heel spur or other medical problem, you can still “mentally practice.” You can rehearse in your mind key moves and habits to give you a competitive edge. For instance, if you play football, you can spend your time off watching more tape, listening to interviews with players you respect, going over your “mental game” with your coach, and even doing hypnosis and self-affirmation sessions. Find ways to make use of this time on the sidelines.
  • Talk to your podiatrist about the range of options available to you—not only to treat your heel spur problem but also to banish it forever. Treatments abound for heel spurs, some of which are pretty “cutting edge.” Modalities include rest, ice packs, stretching, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, endoscopic plantar fasciotomy surgery, and shoe orthotics.
  • Avoid rushing back to action, even if your coach, teammates, and fans demand performance now. There is a huge difference between a simple, easily treatable heel spur and chronic heel spur syndrome, a painful, long-lasting condition that afflicts approximately 10 percent of patients. Protect your career and wellbeing by erring on the side of taking too much time off. Your body, and ultimately your fans and coach, will thank you.

Connect with the board-certified Philadelphia podiatrists at Healthmark Foot & Ankle Associates today for an assessment of your condition and treatment recommendations. Reach us at 610-933-8644 for our Phoenixville office or 610-565-3668 for our Media clinic.

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