What are the Most Common Causes of a Heel Bone Spur?

Article Details
  • Written By: Angela Crout-Mitchell
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

A heel bone spur is an abnormal growth of bone on the foot and is often symptomless until it begins to dig into the soft tissues, such as muscle and nerves, surrounding the growth. There are several known causes for bone spurs on the heel including osteoarthritis, stressful activities, and improperly fitted shoes. When symptoms do manifest, they include pain in the immediate surrounding areas of the feet as well as the potential for nerve damage. Various home remedies, shoe inserts, corticosteroid shots, and surgical intervention are all treatments for this condition. Treatments are as non-invasive as possible, and all work to reduce painful swelling on the bone spur.

One of the most common causes of heel bone spur problems is the aging process and the possibility of the body developing osteoarthritis. This condition causes the cartilage of the bones to wear away, leaving the soft tissue of the muscles, tendons, and nerves exposed to the hard edges of the bone. In the heel, this process can cause pain for the patient during normal activities, such as walking and standing. Swelling of the soft tissue is common as well, and patients and patients with this condition often become less active. This type of bone spur is usually treated with over the counter medications and shoe inserts to cushion the heel when possible.


Some types of athletes are prone to heel bone spur issues as well. It is not unusual for dancers, especially ballet dancers and runners, to develop heel bone spurs due to the long periods of time spent on their feet in strenuous positions. In some cases, the symptoms can be relieved for these patients with the use of well fitted shoes, and physical therapy, including specialized stretching exercises.

Foot experts and doctors have done extensive research on heel bone spur ailments caused by the effects of badly fitted and high heeled shoes. Any shoe that pinches or prohibits proper movement of the long ligament along the bottom of the foot, or the plantar fascitis, creates the potential for the body to react to the pressure by developing an unnecessary bone spur in the heel. In the early stages of the condition, it is possible to correct the problem by wearing well made and correctly fitted shoes, as well as avoiding shoes with very high heels.

Once the heel bone spur problem has become severe, treatments may include surgery or corticosteroid shots to relieve the symptoms. The shots are administered directly into the affected area, and reduce pain and inflammation for a period of time. Surgery involves the use of bone saw to remove the additional bone growth and provides and permanent and long term solution.



Discuss this Article

Post 2

I haven't worn high heels in years because I always felt they were bad for my feet. Getting a bone spur is just one of the complications high heels can cause.

A co-worker was seeing a doctor for back and neck pain. She also had developed a heel bone spur. Her doctor sent her to a neurologist and a podiatrist, both of whom pretty much said that continuous wear of the really high heels (over three inches) was going to cripple her. She was developing some kind of nerve problems because of the way she walked when wearing the heels. Her podiatrist said her feet were in serious trouble from her shoes. She had bad bunions and something was

going on with her metatarsals. He said her feet looked like a ballerina's who had been put en pointe too soon.

She had to wear flats for at least six weeks. She's wearing low heels now, and says she wants to go back to her stilettos, but her husband threatened mayhem if she did.

Post 1

My sister has developed a heel bone spur. It's become so large you can see it sticking from her heel. It's on the very back of her heel, so she can't wear shoes with backs because it's so tender.

She broke that ankle years ago, so I wonder if not being able to stretch that long tendon properly contributed to her getting that bone spur.

She has a hard time walking for any length of time because of it. It gives her a lot of pain. She really needs to see an orthopedist to have it looked at. I expect she could probably get it removed surgically, if she could get the doctor to deem it medically necessary. I'd say it is since it's limiting her mobility.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?