A heel spur (also known as a “calcaneal spur”) is a benign bony growth that protrudes forward on the underside of the heel bone. Although most people with a heel spur experience no symptoms at all, it can lead to pain, inflammation and swelling by the heel. It is also often associated with plantar fasciitis – a condition where the fibrous band on the sole of the foot becomes strained and inflamed.
That being said, heel spurs are usually not the cause of your pain but the reaction to the issue/condition at hand.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to help manage the pain associated with heel spurs. Early treatment and care by a foot specialist can help relieve symptoms and prevent recurrences. If conservative measures fail, surgery may be indicated.
More often than not, heel spurs are asymptomatic and will not cause pain. However, they may be associated with the following signs and symptoms:
For another common cause of heel pain see plantar fasciitis.
Heel spurs are a buildup of calcium deposits on the bottom of the heel bone caused by repetitive strain from attached ligaments, muscles, and the plantar fascia. This is a normal process that occurs when bone is exposed to stress, and is part of its natural way of “fortifying” itself.
Heel spurs are commonly caused by another foot condition called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a fibrous band that runs underneath the foot between the heel and the toes. In a foot with plantar fasciitis, microtears form in the plantar fascia and it becomes inflamed. The effects of plantar fasciitis place excessive pressure and strain on the heel bone, which then triggers the formation of a heel spur.
The following conditions and activities place recurrent strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that connect to the heel bone, which can cause or contribute to heel spurs:
Because heel spurs are often caused by other foot conditions, it’s a good idea to see a foot specialist to diagnose and determine the cause of your heel spur, so you can find the best course of treatment.
Effective treatment of a heel spur involves managing the heel spur symptoms and addressing the condition that caused it in the first place. As plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel spurs, the treatment for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are similar (click here for more information about treating plantar fasciitis).
Heel spur treatment often includes:
If you have persistent heel pain, schedule a diagnostic assessment with our own licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists). Use the booking form below or call 416-769-FEET(3338).
A foot specialist and the knowledgeable staff at our foot clinic can also fit you for orthotics and help you find footwear and supports that are perfectly tailored for your needs and activities.
Our Toronto foot clinic is open Monday to Friday from 9am-6pm and Saturdays from 9am-4pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our Foot clinic.
The following factors and existing foot conditions can increase your risk of developing a heel spur:
All of the above cause recurrent strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that connect to the heel bone, which triggers the buildup of calcium deposits on the heel.
Here are various foot care solutions that can help prevent heel spurs:
Our foot clinic is open six days a week and offers a large selection of supportive and cushioning footwear.