Compression Socks for Heel Spurs: Ease Pain & Find Relief

Heel spurs are bony outgrowths on the underside of your foot. They can become really painful and the experience varies from sharp pain to a dull ache. You may sometimes also notice swelling and even small protrusions under the heel.

How can compression socks help reduce pain from heel spurs and are they an efficient method for finding relief? Thanks to the way compression socks boost blood flow in the lower limbs, they promote healing, reduce inflammation and swelling, and help with temperature regulation and support. They are, however, one of many tools and methods to address heel spurs (which can also include surgery). 

In this article, we’ll focus on how compression socks can help ease the pain from heel spurs and the ways in which you can use them, depending on your situation. 

How Do Heel Spur Compression Socks Work?

Graduated compression socks are tight garments that apply gentle pressure to the lower limbs. They’re tighter at the ankle and gradually release pressure towards the knee, which leads to them stimulating blood flow upwards towards the heart. This reduces the risk of swelling and of blood pooling around the ankles. It’s also been proven to help prevent circulatory problems like varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis. 

Heel spur compression socks

For patients recovering from plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, among other foot injuries, compression socks provide additional support to the foot arch or to the tendons, which increases stability and helps reduce the risk of a recurring injury. Finally, compression socks also massage the muscles and ligaments, providing welcome relief after a long day on your feet and promoting better recovery after exercise or effort. 

Heel spurs tend to happen as a result of stress on the foot ligaments - something that compression socks can prevent through the added support and boost in blood flow they provide. There’s also a connection with plantar fasciitis, as heel spurs can occur as a reaction to stress and inflammation caused by this condition. Managing and preventing plantar fasciitis can therefore help avoid heel spurs from developing. 

The Benefits of Compression Socks for Heel Spurs

There are a few benefits of wearing compression socks to either avoid or manage painful heel spurs: get some targeted pain relief, reduce swelling and inflammation, and boost your healing with improved blood flow in the lower legs.

Targeted Pain Relief

Through the boost in blood flow and the gentle massage provided by compression socks, patients suffering from heel spurs can get some targeted pain relief in the heel area. Supportive shoes and socks also reduce the stress on your ligaments caused by plantar fasciitis, as well as the pain this causes. 

Although bone spurs cannot be cured, compression socks can provide an immediate relief from pain, and they are known to be one of the most accessible and effective ways to target foot and heel pain. They are also the first port of call before considering more drastic measures, such as surgery. 

Compression socks for heel spurs

Reduced Inflammation and Swelling

Increased blood flow to the feet - facilitated by compression socks - contributes to reducing inflammation in the tissues and ligaments. It’s also instrumental in driving down swelling and edema, keeping feet more comfortable and avoiding further pain and complications.

Enhanced Blood Flow to Promote Healing

While there is no way to cure bone spurs, increased blood flow reduces inflammation and pain, while also avoiding the swelling that can lead to more discomfort. Additionally, compression socks help prevent the onset of plantar fasciitis thanks to the support they give the foot - this can avoid the onset of heel spurs. After all, prevention is better than a cure!

Using Compression Socks for Heel Spurs

The most efficient way to use compression socks for heel spurs is to wear them as prevention. They can help runners and walkers avoid a number of injuries, including the dreaded plantar fasciitis which, in time, can trigger heel spurs. Wear compression socks during a run or hike to boost local blood flow and reduce the risk of swelling and soreness. At the same time, the support from these socks will protect the arches of the feet and the ligaments all around the lower legs. 

To reduce pain and swelling, compression socks can also be worn immediately after exercise. They have been shown to speed up recovery after effort, as well, helping deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the legs, thanks to the improvement in blood flow. When suffering from heel spurs, you can put on compression socks to drive down inflammation and swelling, which will contribute to relief from localized pain. 

Compression socks are safe, relatively easy to use, and accessible tools to cope with pain and discomfort. They can be worn for as long as you feel comfortable and are certainly a better first step in dealing with heel spurs before you consider any other possible remedies.

How to Choose Heel Spur Compression Socks

To ensure you get the benefit of compression, you need to consider a few aspects in relation to compression socks: how tight they feel, how well they fit you, and the material and quality, to begin with.

The Right Compression Level

Not all compression garments are equally tight, and that’s definitely the case with compression socks. Measured in mmHg, the pressure they can apply to the legs varies from lighter, everyday wear levels, to medical-grade compression that is only available with a doctor’s prescription.

For first-time wearers and as a preventative measure, 15-20 mmHg compression socks are easy to get used to and can be worn for hours at a time and still feel comfortable. However, when you’re recovering from injury or if you suffer from deep vein thrombosis or edema, wearing tighter, 20-30 mmHg socks will give you more support and a stronger boost in blood circulation. Depending on advice from your doctor, you could also consider wearing medical-grade 30-40 mmHg compression socks

Sizing and Ideal Fit

Sizing is crucial for the effectiveness and comfort of your compression socks for heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. If your socks are too loose, they won’t provide any benefit and can actually become a nuisance as they roll down. If they are too tight, they’ll cut off your circulation and can even cause bruising and pain in the legs.

To make sure your socks fit well, start with measuring your calf circumference. Match that against your shoe size to find the best size of socks by using a sizing guide. Next, once you receive your socks, put them on carefully, ensuring that the material is well spread out over your feet and lower legs, without bunching or squeezing. 

You should also care for your socks, removing them gently so you don’t damage the material, and washing them at low temperatures without bleach or strong detergents. Compression socks are best left to dry naturally. 

Material Comfort and Quality

The next most important element for compression sock choice is the material, as this will have a big impact on how comfortable you find them. You can get heel spur compression socks made of cotton, which is very versatile and can be worn all day, on most days. 

If you’re looking for moisture-wicking, thermoregulating socks that can cope with humidity, hot weather, and cold temperatures alike, merino wool is an excellent choice. These socks are great for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities. They’re also extremely comfortable just lounging around after a long day.

Finally, for activities like running and cycling, nylon socks are sleek and flexible, so they may feel more comfortable than other materials. They also move well with your body if you’re dancing or practicing sports like yoga. 

nylon compression socks

Style and Design Options

Finally, you should consider how compression socks fit in with your wardrobe. Especially if you plan to wear your socks to work or when you go out with friends, it’s essential that they look good, so you actually want to put them on. There are lots of different ways to wear compression socks and stockings with a cute outfit, but there are also various design options to suit your lifestyle and activities.

In addition to the classic compression socks that go to just under the knee, there are also open-toe socks for situations where you may need to keep your toes better ventilated or to match your socks with sandals. For better coverage, you can also get the same benefits from compression tights that cover the whole leg. 

The Best Compression Socks for Heel Spurs

Although heel spurs are a bone growth and cannot be healed, compression socks offer relief from the pain they cause, while also providing preventative care to possibly avoid them developing. Wearing compression socks when you exercise or if you suffer from injuries like plantar fasciitis will help reduce the strain on your ligaments, avoiding the tensions that lead to heel spurs forming in the first place. 

The best compression socks for heel spurs fit well, are made from materials that help regulate temperature and wick away moisture, and feel comfortable to wear for as long as you want to have them on. It’s important to ensure that your socks apply gentle, but noticeable pressure on the feet, ankles, and lower legs, so you can get the boost in blood flow and the support they are designed to provide. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Heel Spurs and How Do They Develop?

A heel spur is a bony outgrowth underneath the heel bone, made up of calcium deposits. They develop over time, often linked with plantar fasciitis, because of strains to the foot ligaments and muscles. When the plantar fascia keeps being stretched too much, especially in the case of athletes who run or jump a lot, heel spurs can begin to form. 

The main risk factors for developing heel spurs include:

  • Walking gait abnormalities - such as the foot collapsing inwards because of low arches - that place too much stress on the heel bone, ligaments, and nerves around the heel;
  • Running or jogging on pavement / hard surfaces;
  • Shoes that are poorly fitted, for example without adequate arch support;
  • Obesity or excess weight (and associated sedentary lifestyle);
  • Flat feet or high arches;
  • Spending a lot of time on your feet (e.g. for your work);
  • Diabetes.

It’s clear that, while exercise is good for avoiding the development of heel spurs, running or jogging in poorly fitted shoes, on hard surfaces (without adequate shoes to support), and generally without the right level of support for your feet (which compression socks can also provide) can also raise your risk for heel spurs. 

How Can I Tell If I Have Heel Spurs?

At first, there is no (or very little) pain associated with heel spurs. As they grow and place pressure on the plantar fascia, they become painful. You may feel either sharp or dull pain in the heel, as well as throbbing. Walking or running in unsupportive shoes will be painful. Sometimes, simply walking barefoot can cause soreness. 

Many heel spurs patients feel a small, bony lump at the back of their foot, usually towards the bottom of the heel. If the heel spur starts to affect the nerves, this can also lead to tingling, numbness, or burning sensations. 

Compression socks for heel spurs

Are Compression Socks a Long-Term Solution for Heel Spur Pain?

Compression socks can help reduce the pain and inflammation linked to heel spurs. They also drive down swelling and added pressure to the foot ligaments and muscles. This provides localized, short-term relief, but it is not a long-term solution.

However, heel spurs cannot be healed. Non-surgical treatments are recommended to manage the symptoms, including rest, icing the area, and wearing protective and supportive shoes. Used correctly, compression socks can be a great tool to help with support, reducing pain and inflammation, and preventing the recurrence of heel spur pain.

Shop our large collection of compression socks today! 

nylon compression socks

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