What is a heel spur?
A heel spur is a bony protrusion or growth at the bottom of your heel bone. On x-ray, it looks like a spike projecting down from the middle of the heel bone.
Heel spurs are caused by the pull on tissues and muscles that attach to the heel bone. This process occurs over time and particularly in those involved in running and jumping activities. Other contributing factors include:
- Abnormal foot posture that places excess stress on the tissues surrounding the heel
- High impact activities
- Unsupportive footwear
- Increased weight
How do they cause heel pain?
Typically, it’s not the spur itself that is painful but the soft tissue surrounding the spur that becomes tender and swollen. One of these tissues is the plantar fascia, which is how heel spurs are often associated with Plantar Fasciitis. This produces symptoms including:
- Sharp stabbing pains
- Throbbing or aches at the heels
- Pain on standing after rest
Can the pain be something other than a heel spur?
Absolutely. Having heel pain doesn’t mean you have a heel spur, just like having a heel spur doesn’t mean that you have heel pain. We see plenty of patients who will have a heel spur on a foot that isn’t painful and have no spur on the foot that has heel pain.
Your knowledgeable Podiatrist will go through a biomechanical examination and may send you for an x-ray to get an accurate diagnosis and provide the most effective treatment.