Heel Spur Pain

What is it: A heel spur is a small bony growth or collection of bony growths on the back or underside of the heel.

Important Facts: It is important that conservative treatments (such as those listed above) be performed for AT LEAST a year before considering surgery. Time is important in curing the pain from heel spurs, and insufficient treatment before surgery may subject you to potential complications from the procedure.

Every mile you walk puts 60 tons of stress on each foot.

Statistics: While about 70 percent of patients with plantar fasciitis have a heel spur, X-rays also show about 50 percent of patients with no symptoms of plantar fasciitis also have a heel spur.

Treatment Duration: Treatment of heel spurs is the same as treatment of plantar fasciitis. Because these problems are related, the treatment is the same. The first step in the treatment of a heel spur is short-term rest and inflammation control. These treatments alone will cure the plantar fasciitis pain in most patients. Be forewarned that the symptoms will not resolve quickly. Most patients find relief within about three months, and over 90 percent within one year.

Do’s/Don’ts: The first treatment step is avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms. For example, take a few day off jogging or prolonged standing to try to rest the painful foot.

Icing will help diminish some of the symptoms and control the heel pain. Icing is especially helpful after an acute exacerbation of symptoms.

Common Myths: Patients and doctors often confuse the terms heel spur and plantar fasciitis. While these two diagnoses are related, they are not the same. Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia–the tissue that forms the arch of the foot. A heel spur is a hook of bone that can form on the heel bone (calcaneus) and is associated with plantar fasciitis.