Heel spurs are a common cause of foot pain. A heel spur is a specific type of bone spur, a calcium deposit (a bone-like growth inside your foot) that builds up on your heel bone, usually on the back of the foot or between the heel bone and the arch. They can expand to affect other parts of your foot as well.
Heel spurs are normally about a fourth of an inch (.6 cm) long, which can make them difficult to detect. They may cause pain, inflammation, and swelling at the front of your heel, and the area might feel warm to the touch. Eventually, a small protrusion may become visible.
But, on the other hand, heel spurs may cause only a few symptoms or none at all. Only about half of people with heel spurs report feeling pain from them, and not all of them protrude in a way that causes swelling or visible distortion to the foot. They are often discovered by accident when a podiatrist is examining the foot for other problems. But even if a heel spur causes no pain or discomfort, they can grow to cause difficulties over time.
Generally, heel spurs are caused by strain to the muscle and ligaments of the foot, which makes them a common problem for athletes and workers who put their feet under frequent strain. They are also frequently associated with conditions like plantar faciitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other causes include arthritis, foot injury, strain caused by overweightness, and poorly-fitted shoes. They take time to form, which means it can be tricky to catch them in the early stages.
If you are experiencing continuing heel pain, visit your podiatrist; don’t let the condition get worse. Your podiatrist may recommend any of various treatments, including exercise, custom orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication, and cortisone injections. If such treatments are ineffective, surgery might be required.