East Coast Podiatry
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Last Updated: 20 May 2019

Heel Spur

Heel Spur Syndrome

What is Heel Spur Syndrome? This normally occurs when the plantar fascia and the calcaneus are under tensile stress, leading to a reactive bone formation. This bony protrusion on the bottom of the heel is medically diagnosed as a “calcaneal spur”, and more commonly known as a “heel spur”. Heel spurs form where the plantar fascia connects to the heel bone. They grow towards the plantar fascia, often forming a hook-like shape.

This condition is often confused with Plantar Fasciitis, another kind of heel pain. This is because the cause of pain, in both heel spur syndrome and plantar fasciitis, is the injured plantar fascia. Heel spurs are not uncommon but only 5% of people with heel spurs report experiencing pain in the heel.


Heel spur sufferers usually experience a sharp and stabbing pain, as if a knife is stuck into the bottom of their heel. The pain comes as a dull ache when they first put pressure on the foot after getting out of bed and will seemingly subside after walking. The pain usually returns when the sufferer remains stationary for prolonged periods of time, especially if they are standing.

Risk Factors

There are multiple risk factors for getting Heel Spur Syndrome. The main cause of it is putting too much stress on the plantar fascia and the calcaneus. Some risk factors include:

  • Flat feet
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Unsupportive footwear
  • An increase in physical activity


To bring down any onset of pain or inflammation, one quick remedy is to immediately put ice on the affected heel. Slow stretching of the calves and feet may also help relieve some pain. Over-the-counter or prescription painkillers may reduce pain temporarily, but fail to address the root causes of the pain.

If you continue to experience pain, you should consult a foot specialist such as a podiatrist. Using a variety of diagnostic tools, a podiatrist can accurately diagnose if the cause of your pain is a heel spur. There are multiple treatment options for heel spurs, including but not limited to:

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