Font Size

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.

What Are Heel Spurs?

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.

What Causes Heel Spurs?

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.

Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

Must Read Articles Related to Heel Spurs

Ankylosing Spondylitis, Orthopedic Perspective
Ankylosing Spondylitis, Orthopedic Perspective Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammation of the joints where the spine and pelvis fit together. This form of learn more >>
Arthritis Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Arthritis causes include injury, abnormal metabolism (such as learn more >>
Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis
Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH) Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) causes bone to form in abnormal places. DISH is diagnosed using learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Heel Spurs:

Heel Spurs - Home Remedies

What home remedies have been effective for your heel spurs?

Heel Spurs - Symptoms and Signs

What symptoms and signs did you experience with your heel spurs?

Diagnosis of Heel Spurs


Ultrasound (also termed sonography, ultrasonography, and Doppler study) is a non-invasive diagnostic medical technique that uses high frequency sound waves to produce images (sonogram) of the internal structures of the body. These sound waves are not detectable by human hearing.

Using an ultrasound machine (ultrasonography), a technician or doctor moves a device called a transducer (probe) over part of your body. The transducer emits sound waves which bounce off the internal tissues, and creates images from the waves that bounce back. Different densities of tissues, fluid, and air inside the body produce different images that can be interpreted by a physician, typically a radiologist (a physician who specializes in imaging technologies). Many studies are done by a trained technologist (sonographer) and then interpreted by a radiologist.

Medical Dictionary