Are Heel Spurs Related to Plantar Fasciitis?


Heel pain can be sharp and hit you when you first get up in the morning or can be a throbbing discomfort. The pain can be chronic or can flare up with activities like running or walking.

A heel spur can be the cause of your heel pain. A heel spur is a calcium deposit that grows slowly as a small bony protrusion on the bottom of the heel bone. Only about ½” long, you may have a heel spur without any symptoms or it can be so painful that it can interfere with your normal activities.

Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia that runs along the bottom of your foot.

What Causes Heel Spurs?

When the plantar fascia is over-stretched, a heel spur may be the result. Heel spurs can also be caused by straining foot ligaments or muscles or by repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone.

You may have a higher risk of heel spurs if you:

  • Are overweight

  • Run on hard surfaces

  • Wear worn-out shoes

  • Wear shoes that are improperly fitted

  • Have diabetes

  • Have high arches

  • Have flat feet

  • Enjoy sports that have a lot of running or jumping

  • Stand for long periods on hard surfaces

Another cause of heel spurs is aging, as the heel’s natural protective fat pad thins and the plantar fascia loses some flexibility.

How To Treat Heel Spurs

Rest your foot if you have heel pain, but if resting is not enough come in for a visit. We will first try noninvasive treatments including:

  • Switching shoes to sturdy styles with extra cushioning and shock absorption

  • Custom-fitted orthotics

  • Gentle stretching exercises for the heel and foot and especially the calf muscles

  • Physical therapy

  • Low-level light laser therapy

  • Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications, with your doctor’s permission

  • Physical therapy

  • Corticosteroid injections to ease inflammation

In severe cases where conservative treatments are of little help, we will discuss surgery to remove the bone spur and release the plantar fascia.

You Don’t Have To Live with Heel Pain

Foot or toe pain is not normal! If you have heel pain or plantar fasciitis, discomfort from arthritis, an injury or just from overuse, please call Michele Kurlanski, DPM at Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Kurlanski offers expert and professional podiatry services in Cumberland County, Maine. Please call us today at 207-774-0028 to schedule your appointment in our Scarborough office.