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Heel Spur: Everything You Need to Know

Heel Spur: Everything You Need to Know


A heel spur is a bony-like growth located under the heel bone that is caused by a build-up of calcium deposits. A heel spur generally forms under the heel bone itself but can spread along to the arch of the foot.

What Causes a Heel Spur?

Heel spurs are caused by long-term muscle and ligament strain. They develop over time, when the excessive strain stretches and wears out the soft tissues in the heel. They tend to occur when you ignore early heel pain and the repetitive stress from walking, running etc injures the soft tissues in the heel further. In addition they can also occur due to:

  • Arthritis
  • Poor fitting or worn out shoes
  • Issues to walking pattern
  • Excess pressure on the foot due to being overweight
  • Having plantar fasciitis increases risk for developing heel spurs


The two most common symptoms of heel spurs are pain and inflammation of the heel. The injured area may also feel warm to touch, and eventually a small bony protrusion may appear from under the skin. Detecting a heel spur can be difficult however as they don’t always cause pain, and not all heel pain is related to heel spurs. In addition, the bony protrusion may not always appear and so heel spurs are often only discovered through x-rays.


There are a number of options available when treating a heel spur:

  • Anti-Inflammatories
  • Cold Compresses
  • Pain Medications
  • Orthotic Shoe Inserts
  • Physiotherapy and Foot Stretching Exercises
  • Surgery

How to Prevent a Heal Spur

Heal spurs can be difficult to prevent unless you pay increased attention to your overall foot health. Repetitive stress can increase your risk of developing a spur so ensure you give your feet a rest at the end of the day and never push any heel pain that may occur. In addition, to avoid suffering from a heel spur, ensure you wear properly fitted shoes and replace old shoes when they start to wear.

Heel Spur vs Plantar Fasciitis

Here at the clinic we find many people get confused as to whether they have a heel spur or plantar fasciitis. Although both affect the heel and are closely related, there is a distinct difference. As discussed throughout this post, a heel spur is a bony-like growth that occurs on the heel, it may have little to no symptoms but will be there forever unless surgically removed. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation that occurs along the plantar fascia ligament and occurs due to abnormal force such as overuse or being overweight. However plantar fasciitis will subside on its own regardless of treatment. 

If you are experiencing any heel pain and suspect it may be a heel spur, do not hesitate to get in contact with us here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, to address your concerns. To book an appointment with us, either call us on 01-6606582, or alternatively book online here.

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