When you have heel pain, it’s a common assumption that it’s caused by a heel spur. A heel spur is a foot condition that’s created by a bony-like growth called a calcium deposit that extends between your heel bone and arch. Heel spurs often start in the front of your heel and eventually affect other parts of your foot. They are normally about a quarter of an inch in length, so they may not necessarily be visible to the naked eye.
Detecting heel spurs can be challenging. Heel spurs don’t always cause pain, and not all heel pain is related to spurs.
Heel spurs are directly caused by long-term muscle and ligament strain. Eventually, this excessive strain stretches soft tissues in your heel and wears them out.
Heel spurs develop over time — they don’t suddenly appear after a workout or a sports event. Heel spurs tend to occur when you ignore early symptoms like heel pain. Repetitive stress from walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces is a common cause of heel spurs. They may also develop from wearing shoes that don’t support your foot.
Heel spurs may also be caused by:
- bruising of the heel
- excess body weight
- poorly fitted shoes
- walking gait issues
- wearing flip-flops too often
- worn-out shoes
- Plantar Fasciitis
Symptoms of heel spurs may include pain, inflammation, and swelling at the front of your heel. The affected area may also feel warm to the touch. The symptoms may spread to the arch of your foot. Eventually, a small bony protrusion may be visible.
Some heel spurs may cause no symptoms at all. About 50 percent of people with heel spurs experience pain from them. You may also not see any changes in soft tissues or bones surrounding the heel. Heel spurs are often discovered only through X-rays and other tests done for another foot ailment.