All About Heel Spurs: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

Heel Spur Causes Heel Pain

The bony protrusion of a heel spur can cause serious pain while walking or running.

Do you experience increasing and unbearable heel pain as the day progresses? Does the ball of your foot pulse with pain as you push off? You may be experiencing the symptoms of a heel spur.

What’s a Heel Spur?

A heel spur is an abnormal growth—a slow developing calcium deposit on the bottom of the heel bone.

The heel bone, the largest bone in the foot, absorbs the majority of shock and pressure. This calcium growth, while sometimes can go undetected and remain painless, can become extremely painful while standing or walking.

What Causes Heel Spurs?

Heel spurs develop when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel. Stretching of the plantar fascia is typically the result of flat-footedness or over pronation, but people with unusually high arches may also develop heel spurs. Routinely wearing more extreme types of footwear can lead to a greater chance of developing heel spurs.

Symptoms of Heel Spurs

There is often overlap regarding symptoms of myriad causes of heel pain. It can be commonly mistaken for plantar fasciitis (and vice-versa). But, if you’re experiencing all of the following, there’s a good chance you’ve got heel spurs:

  1. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon
  2. Pain and tenderness in the back of the heel
  3. A surge of pain when pushing off the ball of the foot
  4. The feeling of a knife or pin sticking to the bottom of the foot
  5. Pain returning after sitting or standing still for a long period of time

Treatment Options

Heel Spur Treatment and Prevention

Prevent the development of heel spurs by wearing the right shoes with ample arch support.

You have to figure out what’s causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. If you’ve determined you’re flat footed and consistently over-pronated, using an orthotic with proper arch support may be the solution. Sometimes it’s as easy as incorporating regular stretching exercises into your daily routine. In rare, severe circumstances you may require surgery.

Effective Non-Surgical Treatments

In most cases, you may relieve symptoms of heel spurs and treat them with your own home remedy: attention and vigilance. The following solutions will help you fight back against the pain:

  1. Regular stretching exercises
  2. Taping/strapping for resting muscles and tendons
  3. Inserts or orthotic devices
  4. Physical therapy
  5. Losing weight
  6. Wear shoes with cushioned heels

Potential Surgical Treatment

If self-care isn’t cutting it, and you continue to experience pain from a heel spur after several months of conservative treatment, surgery may enter the equation. Possible surgical solutions involve release of the plantar fascia or removing the spur.

Please contact Advanced Foot and Ankle for a consultation if you’ve been pushed to the limits and have lost hope in non-surgical treatments. You shouldn’t risk surgery unless you absolutely have to.  

How to Prevent Heel Spurs

You’ll never have to worry about heel spurs if you never get them in the first place. The best solution is prevention! Here’s what you can do:

  1. Wear the right shoes, with plenty of arch support
  2. Wear appropriate shoes for different purposes
  3. Warm up and stretch before exercising
  4. Pace yourself when exercising
  5. Avoid running on flat, hard surfaces
  6. Watch your weight! Losing weight or maintaining healthy weight helps prevent heel spurs

Milwaukee Podiatrists Will Help You Relieve Heel Pain

Our elite team of foot and ankle doctors have spent many years treating all forms of foot pain for patients throughout Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin. If you’ve got pain in your heel and suspect it’s a heel spur, contact us and we’ll set up an appointment for an in-person consultation. Getting you back up on your feet with no pain is our number one priority.

Contact Milwaukee’s best foot and ankle doctors now to schedule an appointment to get rid of pain from heel spurs.