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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I have a large "spur" under the sole of my foot

Hi -

I have a large "spur" under the sole of my foot, as well as several smaller ones. My GP has put me on anti inflammatories and also referred me to a sports medicine doctor who injected quortizon (don't know correct spelling) directly into the sole. My question is, how do I deal with this very painful condition without resorting to surgery?

Dear Sue,

You have asked a very interesting question that will be of interest to many readers.

Before I can answer your question in detail I need more information:

How old are you?
Please describe your physique – are you over or underweight? Strongly built? Sedentary or athletic?
What do you do to keep fit?
What do you think/know has caused the development of the heel spurs and what aggravates them?
Is it one foot that is affected or both?
Have you ever been told that you have weak or pronating feet?
Has the cortisone treatment given relief? And how long ago was this administered and how many times?
What other treatment have you had, or currently receiving, including any medications – Are you still on the anti-inflammatories?

In the meantime, try to avoid activities that cause foot pain and choose ones that take the load off your feet – activities like aqua-jogging (Refer to these guidelines), indoor rowing or riding a bike.

Sue's response
I'm 60, not very athletic at all, slightly over weight.

Up until this time, have enjoyed walking quite long distances. The injection was given about 2 weeks ago now, and the relief was almost instantaneous. Both feet are sore, but only one was x-rayed and treated, only just started on the anti-inflammatories.

Unfortunately, I'm about to do a lot of walking. Never been told that I have weak or pronated feet.

Until this point in time, I have been very lucky with my health and have been on no medications at all, but my marriage has just finished after 41 years and since that time, things seem to be going hay wire with my health.

I haven't a clue what started the spurs hurting, feels like walking on broken glass, and until my marriage split, I had no symptoms whatsoever. Because I have been walking so badly, I have now got a sore Achilles tendon which the GP advised I get physiotherapy on.

Gary's response
Thanks for the additional information. The information about your marriage breakup after so many years is most relevant, as are the other details, including age.

Sustained stress of any sort drains the body in many ways, including depleting the body’s reserves of minerals like magnesium and of vitamins, principally the B group. The end result is what I refer to as “Wobbly Wheels Syndrome” (WWS). Sufferers just feel like their wheels are close to falling off and no amount of rest therapy or medication seems to produce anything more than passing relief.

The feet are windows on the body and it is the feet that I first examine if a person is complaining of chronic health or injury problems. This is because the feet are furthest from the heart and other organs and they are very hard working. If there is anything amiss with the body that affects the health and vitality of one’s cells, it is often first to show in the feet by way of complexion, fluid retention, skin tone, the health of the nails or injury such as what you describe. If wear exceeds repair, due to poor cell health, then injury will be the result, as will failure to heal 100% even with long periods of rest. The injury comes back, or pops up in the other leg much to the frustration and dismay of the sufferer.

Other factors may come into play. Of greatest interest is vitamin D deficiency. To date, I have not encountered a single person in New Zealand older than 50 years who has optimum vitamin D levels. In its active form vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a master hormone that is crucial for bodily health, including the uptake and use of vitamins and minerals. This is why vitamin D deficiency results in osteoporosis. It is also the reason why a person with low vitamin D is prone to connective tissue weakness and pain and joint and muscle pain.

You need to determine what your current vitamin D levels are. You can arrange for a blood test via your doctor. Once you have the results, you will need to write to me with them and I can assist further. Right now will be your seasonal peak and levels will decline until next summer. For details about what are optimum levels and how to interpret results go here.

You also would benefit by knowing your cellular mineral makeup. This is so that most of the guess-work is taken out when determining your nutritional needs to achieve optimum balance. This is best determined by a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA). For more information about this and how to order a HTMA, email me and I will send you a collection kit. The HTMA is more useful to me than a blood test because it tells us about what is inside the body’s cells, instead of what is just in the blood.

I am not at all in favour of cortisone injections for the problems you describe. These injections are known to have catastrophic consequences. Please read my article here and the ones that link to it . It is important that you understand how cortisone injections work and what the potential consequences are. A mechano-chemical approach to your injuries is unlikely to give lasting relief.

Your mind and body, like a quality car that has been kept in the family, require ongoing tender loving care. It would appear the personal TLC is well overdue, so let’s change that from today.

Even without currently knowing your vitamin D and cellular mineral status, you can safely take some practical measures right now that will not compromise any future interventions. Here are my initial recommendations (All products mentioned below are available from ):
  • Give your feet some relief. Purchase a pair of either Formthotics work inner soles or Formthotics Comfort inner soles from Myotec.
  • Strengthen the muscles in the big calf muscles that reduce the load on the smaller foot muscles the attachments of which are developing bone spurs. Please read and follow the exercise guidelines in this free E-Publication .
  • Build your body’s mineral reserves by taking two Nutra-Life Calcium Complete tablets spaced over each day with food
  • Take a quality natural B-Complex multivitamin such as Kordel’s Executive B. Take 2 tablets spread over the day with food
  • Minimise depletion of vitamin D levels over winter months by taking daily Red Seal cod liver oil. Take 2 capsules per day with food
  • Get a proper foot and calf muscle massage 2-3 times weekly (If you live in Wellington, I can do this). You will need to find a good massage therapist locally and then coach a loving person how to take over for the long term once you know what is needed for ongoing foot TLC.
  • Take up aqua-jogging 2-4 times a week to maintain fitness while relieving hard-working feet. Read this free E-Publication about how to aqua-jog properly .
There is more that you can do, but get started with these and see how you get on and please give us feedback and let us know those test results when they are in.

Finally, if you are currently receiving treatment for your foot pain, you should discuss these recommendations with your therapist before proceeding.

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