Heel Spurs 101: All The Basics You Need To Know

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Heel spurs are a common condition that can cause pain in the heels. If you’re experiencing heel pain, it’s important to know what heel spurs are and what you can do about them. In this article, we will discuss all the basics you need to know about heel spurs. Keep reading to learn more about heel spurs.

What Is A Heel Spur?

Heel spurs are a common condition that some people develop as they age, though it’s not known exactly why this happens. The heel spur may be linked with excessive strain and abnormal biomechanics or less commonly underlying health conditions. A heel spur is the excess build-up of calcium deposits over time leading to bony outgrowth formation on your calcaneal bone (the one right next near where you walk). This can appear in various shapes including hooked points called which grow up half an inch long if left untreated.

Types Of Heel Spurs

There are two types of heel spurs, and they are classified according to their location. Here are those two types:

  • Plantar Calcaneal Spur

The most common type of heel spur is called plantar calcaneal spurs. They’re often associated with the formation of a bony projection in this area, which can grow where your heels meet their corresponding bones (the bottom part) and connect to another piece known as the plantar fascia. That’s an elastic fibrous tissue that stretches across almost all parts of our feet while we walk around.

  • Posterior Calcaneal Spur

Posterior calcaneal spurs are a common heel bone spur that can be found in some people. This condition involves inflammation of the Achilles tendon, and these growths grow gradually surrounding where it inserts into your foot’s heel bones.

Heel Spur Symptoms

Heel spurs can be extremely painful. The primary symptom is a sharp pain in the heel that is often worse with first steps in the morning or after periods of rest. A less common symptom is dull, intermittent pain that shifts from the inner side of the heel to the outer side.  While heel spurs are most often associated with pain on the bottom of the foot, they can also cause discomfort in other areas, such as the top of the foot, ankle, calf, and Achilles tendon.

What Causes Heel Spurs?

Several different things can contribute to the development of heel spurs. Below is a list of common symptoms:


One of the most common causes of heel spurs is arthritis. This is a condition that causes the deterioration of cartilage, which is the tissue that cushions and protects your joints. When this happens, your bones rub against each other, which can cause pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Heel bruising.

If you suffer from heel bruising, this can also lead to the development of heel spurs. This is because when your heel hits the ground, it can create small tears in the tissue that surrounds your bones. Over time, these tears can become larger and cause the formation of a spur.

Excessive weight.

Carrying around extra weight can put additional strain on your feet, which can lead to the development of heel spurs. If you are overweight or obese, losing even a few pounds can help to reduce the amount of pressure on your feet and prevent the development of spurs.

Shoes that are not properly fitted.

If you wear shoes that are too tight or too loose, this can also lead to the development of heel spurs. This is because ill-fitting shoes can put additional strain on your feet, which can damage the tissue and cause the formation of a spur.

Gait problems when walking.

If you have a gait that is not normal when walking, this can also lead to the development of heel spurs. This is because abnormal gaits can put additional strain on your feet and cause the formation of a spur.

Frequent use of flip-flops.

People who flip-flop a lot are more likely to develop heel spurs. This is because the back of the flip-flop rubs against the heel, which can create friction and eventually lead to a spur.

How Are Heel Spurs Diagnosed?

If you visit your doctor complaining of heel pain, they will likely ask you about your symptoms and medical history. They will then perform a physical examination of your foot. This may include feeling for any bumps or abnormalities, checking your range of motion, and observing how you walk. Your doctor may also order imaging tests such as an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound. These can help them take a closer look at the bones and soft tissues in your foot to see if there are any signs of heel spurs. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend a blood test to rule out other possible causes of heel pain such as gout or arthritis.

Once they have made a diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. This may include over-the-counter or prescription medications, physical therapy, orthotic devices, or surgery. In most cases, heel spurs can be treated successfully without the need for surgery. However, in some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the spur or relieve pain.

We hope this article has answered all of the questions you may have had about heel spurs. If you still have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to call us today. Our team is here to help you get back on your feet as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Remember, The 3 Arches of Your Feet Still Need Support!

Maybe you have already felt the first symptoms of balance disorders or you want to prevent them from appearing in the first place. Consider getting a foot orthotic device or simply take care of your feet. Start by washing them thoroughly with a gentle soap whenever you take a shower. Being a very complex support system, your feet are your first line of defense against balance-related issues, since their arches provide you with the stability you need in your daily life. It’s time to put your foot down and push back against balance issues. With both feet on the ground, dedicate yourself to keeping them comfortable and healthy. Give us a call and we will scan your feet to make you custom orthotic inserts.

The Shoe Doctor has specialized in providing custom orthotics for 20 years. The right orthotic insoles can greatly reduce foot, knee and hip pain while increasing performance and comfort. Russell at The Shoe Doctor will help educate and assist you in finding the perfect solution for your particular situation. We will create a 3D map of your feet and make custom orthotics for your hiking boots, everyday shoes, and everything else in between. These orthotics, along with our expert advice, will get you using orthotics like a pro, and have you performing at the peak of your abilities in no time!  If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, give The Shoe Doctor a call to get the best custom orthotics in the area! We are here to assist you, schedule your free consultation here!


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Russell Pate

Russell Pate

Russell has been a Certified Pedorthist for over 28 years.

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