Heels spurs are bone growths at the base of the heel. They develop in the ligaments and fascia of the undersurface of the foot (plantar fascia). Bone spurs can be a source of heel pain. Not all bone spurs cause pain. Many people have some degree of bone spurs and will never know. It can be nothing more than an incidental finding on an x-ray. A bone spur in the plantar fascia is called a calcaneal spur or just heel spur.
The cause of most heel spurs is mechanical stress to the plantar fascia over time. Heel spurs may occur from:
- Mechanical stress from long term running or other sports and activities that cause micro-injuries to the foot
- Gravitational load stresses as people put on weight. The feet have to support this weight and can become irritated
- Diseases and hereditary conditions that promote irritation in the feet such as diabetes.
Heel spurs usually occur without any symptoms. When a heel spur irritates neighbouring structures or becomes irritated from repeated loads, it can cause heel pain and discomfort when walking or running.
The treatment of a heel spur will depend on the location of the heel spur and its size. Treatment is not necessary for all heel spurs. In most cases, heel pain is managed conservatively with sports chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments. In some cases, a surgical opinion is considered.