What Are Heel Spurs?

What is a Heel Spur?

What Is a Heel Spur & How Can It Be Treated?

Do you often experience pain in your heel? Heel pain is a symptom of several common foot conditions, including heel spurs. These small, bony protrusions are benign and painless on their own, but they are still important to address. Fortunately, there are several treatment options you can use to reduce your pain that do not involve surgery.

Calcaneal Spurs

A heel spur is a bony projection at the underside of your heel. It is not visible to the naked eye since bone spurs in the heel occur on the inside of your foot on the bone. They are often the result of longstanding stress or strain on the ligaments and connective tissues of your feet, particularly the plantar fascia, which connects the calcaneus (or heel bone) to the toes.

X-Ray of a bone spur on the calcaneus or heel bone

Repeated stretching of the plantar fascia can lead to a painful condition known as plantar fasciitis. Simultaneously, the constant pulling on this tissue may form small tears in the calcaneus. As the body tries to repair itself and prevent further tearing, calcium deposits form at the site of the injury, creating bone spurs on the heel.

The clinically proven PowerStep® arch can prevent heel pain and may help stop the formation of heel spurs. A bone spur on the heel usually is not painful unless it rubs against something or becomes irritated from failure to relieve plantar fasciitis pain. Heel spurs develop over time and can vary in size from a few millimeters to a few centimeters.

Heel Spur vs Plantar Fasciitis

Heel spurs are a reaction to the stress and inflammation of the overexerted plantar fascia. Your body responds to this stress by building more bone tissue. The two foot conditions are related, but not everyone with plantar fasciitis gets heel spurs.

Plantar fasciitis is curable through proper preventative treatments like rest and wearing insoles for arch pain. PowerStep orthotic insoles are clinically proven to relieve and prevent pain while supporting your arch. Our Pinnacle orthotic insoles are the #1 podiatrist recommended brand for people with plantar fasciitis who need relief and support.

Heel spurs, on the other hand, cannot be cured. Instead, healthcare providers recommend taking action to ease the symptoms and alleviate discomfort.

Woman placing PowerStep Pinnacle Orthotic Insole into gray tennis shoe

What Does a Heel Spur Feel Like?

Heel spurs alone have little to no symptoms, which is why they usually go undiagnosed until you feel pain from another condition. Heel spur pain is like plantar fasciitis pain, since the two conditions are usually concurrent.

You may experience the following symptoms with heel spurs:

  • Sharp or stabbing pain in the heel
  • Heel pain that is worse after standing or walking for a long time
  • Swelling in your heel
  • Pain in the sole of your foot
  • Difficulty sleeping due to heel pain

Causes of Heel Spurs

Although several different factors may cause heel spurs, the most common one is excessive stress on the heel bone. This may be the result of activities that involve repetitive impacts, such as running or dancing on hard surfaces. Wearing shoes without proper arch support or sufficient cushioning can also put unnecessary tension on your heel.

Woman running on a boardwalk

Spending a lot of time on your feet and having either flat feet or high arches are possible risk factors for developing heel spurs, too. If you have to change the way you walk to avoid back, knee, or hip pain, you could get heel spurs from the uneven distribution of weight across one or both feet.

PowerStep’s clinically proven arch shape and deep heel cradle balance the foot and provide cushion to the heel, making our insoles for athletic shoes and work shoes ideal for heel spur relief. PowerStep insoles for flat feet and high arches can also help prevent problems like heel spurs.

How Is a Heel Spur Diagnosed and Treated?

A healthcare provider can diagnose a heel spur after listening to your symptoms and performing a physical exam. They may ask what types of activities trigger your heel pain. Sometimes X-rays of the foot help with the diagnosis, ruling out conditions like arthritis or stress fractures.

Heel Spur Treatment Options

Doctors usually recommend non-surgical treatment for heel spurs such as resting, icing the bottom of your foot, or taking over-the-counter pain medications. Orthotic insoles for heel pain are also an effective way to alleviate discomfort. Silicone gel heel cups reduce trauma and traction on the heel plus provide added cushion to your shoes.

How Do You Get Rid of Heel Spurs?

If you still experience severe heel pain despite treatment, your doctor may discuss surgery as an option. Surgery for heel spur removal is rare and the only way to get rid of them. Because calcaneal spurs are not the source of pain, it is more important to address the condition causing them.

Heel Spur Relief by PowerStep

People with heel pain might limit the activities they do because it hurts too much to be on their feet. PowerStep insoles and inserts relieve pain and prevent conditions that cause calcaneal spurs so you can maintain your active lifestyle and keep doing what you love minus the pain.

PowerStep Power Heelers Silicone Gel Heel Cups

The PowerStep Power Heeler silicone gel heel cups for heel spurs protect sore, aching heels with soft, cushioned support. Helpful in relieving pain from plantar fasciitis, too, the silicone gel absorbs shock on impact and distributes pressure evenly to minimize strain. Use heel spur heel cups with our orthotic insoles for maximum support and pain relief.


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