Updated: Jul 30, 2020
It’s easy to define people and things by their relationships: that’s so-and-so’s husband, this is my neighbor’s granddaughter, that’s my best friend’s dog, this is my favorite rocking chair, and so on. Relationships between people and things can highlight interesting connections or show how they affect each other—which, in health, can help with painful issues. Many people misunderstand the relationship between heel pain and bone spurs, which often get blamed for discomfort in the back of the foot.
Heel pain can have many causes. Most commonly it’s related to stress from overworked and tightened tendons or ligaments. Sometimes it’s related to a bruise in the fatty padding under the back of your foot, from a stress fracture in the bone. It can even come from inflammation in the heel bursa or Haglund’s deformity. In most of these cases, you probably won’t even have a bone spur under your heel.
The truth is that the relationship between bone spurs and heel pain isn’t straightforward. A spur doesn’t necessarily cause pain, while other heel issues might contribute to the bony bump. The bone spur is a calcium deposit and may not hurt at all, especially if it’s small. Stress on the bottom of the heel over time causes extra bone tissue to build up, creating a small protrusion. That’s part of why spurs can be a side effect of plantar fasciitis: the strain on the bone from the thickened, tight ligament can contribute to the extra calcium build-up.
Only if a bone spur gets large and adds to inflammation under the foot does it become a problem. Many people with the bony bump don’t even know it’s there because it isn’t painful! That’s why you don’t necessarily need the spur removed to relieve the heel pain you do have. For many people, the root of the discomfort is something else, and treating that root problem takes care of it.
While you may or may not have a bone spur, if you’re living with heel pain, you shouldn’t ignore it. You can take steps to eliminate the discomfort noninvasively today. Let our experts with Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC help you take care of your lower limbs before the problem gets worse and harder to heal. Use our website or call (504) 708-4810 to reach our Metairie, LA, office for more information or to schedule your consultation.