A heel spur is caused from a calcium deposit on the underside of the heel bone. These calcium deposits form when the plantar fascia, or fibrous tissue located along the bottom of the foot, pulls away from the heel area, which causes a heel spur to develop.
Heel spurs often occur over a long period of time, often over the course of many months. They are caused by putting strain on foot muscles and ligaments. Heel spurs are most commonly found in athletes who spend a lot of time engaging in activities such as running or jumping.
It is not uncommon to have little or no symptoms with heel spurs. They are often intermittent, and cause pain while running, walking or jumping. The pain is often described as a pin sticking in the bottom of your foot that turns to a dull ache at a later point.
Heel spurs don’t often respond well to rest, and are often more painful after a period of rest.
Depending on the severity of your heel spur, you may or may not be a candidate for surgery.
Non-surgical treatments for heel spurs are recommended before surgery. Treatments could include:
- Shoe Inserts
- Physical Therapy
While surgery is not usually needed to treat heel spurs, if non-surgical treatments don’t improve the condition after a period of 9–12 months, surgery may be recommended or necessary to relieve pain and restore mobility to its fullest.
It is possible to prevent heel spurs. If you are active in physical activity such as running, walking, or jogging you should take precautions by wearing good, well-fitting shoes with shock absorbing soles. It is also recommended to wear shoes that are appropriate for each activity, and to warm up before each session.
Your podiatrist will be able to diagnose heel spurs, and recommend treatments for you. Most heel spurs, about 90%, heal on their own without surgical intervention.