What Are Heel Spurs?

A heel spur (calcaneal spur) is a calcium deposit or growth on the bone of the heel that develop where the muscles in the foot connect to the bone. A heel spur is basically a small, bony protrusion often looks like a hook pointing towards the toes and just like plantar fasciitis, is the result of extended periods of strain on the foot, as well as from prolonged stretching and inflammation of the plantar fascia.

You can get them from wearing the wrong shoes or from an abnormal walk or posture, or even from activities like running. The spurs may hurt while you’re walking or standing. People with flat feet or high arches are more likely to have painful heel spurs.

The difference between plantar fasciitis and heel spurs
Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are both conditions that affect the feet and cause chronic pain in the heel and sole of the foot, however heel spurs typically are not painful unless they intrude on the soft tissue (plantar fascia), where they can cause irritation. Both conditions can cause issues with normal movement and can impede your ability to walk or run comfortably.

Symptoms and treatment
Both plantar fasciitis and heel spurs present with more or less the same symptoms. They both present with pain directly underneath the heel, with pain getting worse over time.  Treatment for heel spurs is quite similar to that of plantar fasciitis, in that rest and stretching can have a major impact in reducing pain and inflammation.

According to physicians, more than 90 percent of people get better with nonsurgical treatments for heel spurs, but for the most severe cases, surgery can be required to reduce pain and bring movement back to normal.

With both conditions, continuing to go about your daily activities with pain and without treatment can result in worsening of the condition of time. To help prevent this condition wear properly fitted shoes or orthotics that help support your arch and give your feet protection from the constant pressure of daily activities.