Heel Spurs - Causes and Treatment

A diagram of a foot with a heel spur.Also known as calcaneal spurs, heel spurs are bony growths that develop on the underside of the heel bone. They typically form in response to long-term strain or inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. Several factors can contribute to the development of heel spurs:

  • Plantar Fasciitis: The most common cause of heel spurs is plantar fasciitis, a condition characterized by inflammation and microtears in the plantar fascia. Over time, this chronic irritation can lead to the formation of a heel spur as the body tries to repair the damaged tissue.
  • Excessive Strain: Running, jumping, prolonged standing, or other activities that place excessive strain on the feet can increase the risk of heel spurs. Athletes and individuals with jobs that require long hours on their feet are more prone to developing heel spurs.
  • Improper Footwear: Ill-fitting shoes can alter your gait and increase stress on the plantar fascia, so wearing shoes with inadequate arch support or poor cushioning can contribute to the development of heel spurs..
  • Aging: As we age, the elasticity of the plantar fascia naturally decreases, making older individuals more susceptible to heel spurs.
  • Obesity: Excess body weight can place additional stress on the feet and increase the likelihood of developing heel spurs.
  • Flat Feet or High Arches: Abnormal foot arches, whether flat or excessively high, can alter the weight distribution across the feet, potentially leading to an increased risk of heel spur formation.
  • Biomechanical Issues: Abnormal walking patterns or gait, as well as structural abnormalities in the foot, can contribute to the development of heel spurs.

It's important to note that not everyone with plantar fasciitis will develop heel spurs, and many people with heel spurs may not experience any pain or symptoms. However, for those who do experience discomfort, treatment options range from conservative measures such as rest, orthotic inserts, and physical therapy to more invasive interventions like corticosteroid injections or even surgery in severe cases. The key to effective management is early diagnosis and addressing the underlying causes of heel spurs. If you suspect you have heel spurs or are experiencing heel pain, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.


Heel spurs typically cause high levels of pain in the rear of the foot when walking or standing, especially when barefoot or walking on hard surfaces. On average, people with heel spurs are 4.6% more likely to have current or previous heel pain; however, 15% of cases are asymptomatic, and not all heel pain is related to heel spurs.

Other symptoms:

  • Inflammation
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling


Finding the root cause of the heel spurs is the main way to treat them. An estimated 90% of people with heel spurs will get relief using the below tips:

  • Orthotics
  • Supportive Footwear
  • Exercises
  • Cold compresses
  • Physical therapy
  • Night splints


*We are not doctors, and the information provided here is only meant for informational purposes. If you suspect you have a foot condition, please talk to your doctor so they can discuss the best solution for you.