What is a heel spur and how is it treated?

A heel spur is a bony protrusion that forms on the heel bone. It is most often associated with plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Symptoms include pain and tenderness in the heel and may worsen with physical activity.

Treatment of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis begins with non-surgical measures including:

  • Rest: Avoid any activity that worsens symptoms.
  • Ice therapy: Apply ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day.
  • Stretching: Perform stretching exercises of the calf muscle and plantar fascia.
  • Proper footwear: Wear shoes with good cushioning and arch support.
  • Orthopedic insoles: Insoles can provide additional arch support and reduce stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy may include strengthening and stretching exercises, massage and ultrasound therapy.

If these treatments do not relieve the symptoms, a corticosteroid injection may be performed in the affected area.

In rare and severe cases where conservative treatments do not relieve symptoms, surgery may be considered to remove the heel spur and release the plantar fascia.