Symptoms and Signs of Heel Spurs

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 12/2/2022

Doctor's Notes on Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are bony protrusions on the bottom side of the heel bone and are commonly found in athletes.  Heel spurs are made up of calcium deposits. They are often caused by strains on foot muscles and ligaments, stretching of the plantar fascia, or repeated tears of the membrane that covers the heel bone. 

Heel spurs may not always cause symptoms or signs. In other cases, associated symptoms can include heel pain that is often worse when walking or running. The pain is typically caused by injuries to the soft tissue caused by the spur rather than from the heel spur itself. Irritation of the soft tissues of the heel can cause a painful condition known as plantar fasciitis.

What Is the Treatment for Heel Spurs?

Treatment for heel spurs usually includes one or more of the following measures:

  • Resting the heel
  • Using cold packs on the bottom of the foot
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Using footwear or shoe inserts that support the arch of the foot

Surgery is rarely performed to remove heel spurs. However, heel spurs may be removed if plantar fasciitis surgery is performed.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.