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Heel Spurs

Heel Spur Facts

  • A heel spur appears on an X-ray as a pointed bony outgrowth of the bone of the heel (the calcaneus bone).
  • Heel spurs under the sole of the foot (plantar area) are associated with plantar fasciitis.
  • Heel spurs on the back of the heel are often associated with Achilles tendonitis/tendonosis.
  • Heel spurs can occur alone or be related to underlying diseases.
  • Heel spurs are treated by measures that decrease the associated pain or inflammation and avoid reinjury.

Heel Spurs Overview

A heel spur is a bony outgrowth of the calcaneus bone in the heel. Heel spurs are attributed to chronic local inflammation at the insertion of soft-tissue ligaments or fascia in the area. Heel spurs can be located at the back of the heel or under the heel, beneath the sole of the foot. Heel spurs at the back of the heel are frequently associated with inflammation of the Achilles tendon (tendinitis) and cause tenderness and pain at the back of the heel that's made worse while pushing off the ball of the foot.

Heel Spur Causes

Heel spurs are most commonly caused by strain injury of the tendons and tissues that attach to the heel bone (calcaneus). This can occur after repetitive athletic stress or strain injury. Heel spurs can also be caused by inflammatory diseases, including reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/21/2016

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