Heel Spurs Explained

Written with contributions from Superfeet Wellness Experts and the Superfeet education team.


A heel spur is a common and often painful foot condition that anyone can develop, but it most often afflicts athletes who run and jump frequently. As a result, track athletes and amateur runners may suffer from these calcium build-ups on their heel. Dealing with bone spurs requires accurate diagnosis and a common-sense course of treatment. Without help, you may find your activity severely limited.

What are heel spurs?

A heel spur is a calcium deposit that can cause a boney protrusion on the underside of the foot, most often on the heel bone (calcaneus). A heel spur is typically not visible, but can be diagnosed via an x-ray of the foot.

Heel spur causes

Heel spurs are most often caused by repetitive running or jumping on hard surfaces.

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, a condition affecting the plantar fascia between your heel and your toes, you are more likely to suffer from bone spurs as well. Increasing age, diabetes, flat feet and regular long periods of standing can also cause you to develop these spurs. Anything that consistently places strain on your heel can cause these calcium deposits to develop.

Heel spur symptoms

Although heel spurs may be up to 1/2 inch long, curving from under your heel toward your arch, some are painless. You can have one and never know it. However, 50% of those with heel spurs do notice a number of symptoms, like:

• Pain
• Swelling
• Inflammation
• Feeling of Warmth
• Tenderness

Heel spurs are difficult to diagnose unless your doctor performs some imaging on your foot. The symptoms of a bone spur are quite similar to other podiatric conditions. Usually, an X-ray will identify the bone spur and allow your physician to develop an effective treatment plan.

Heel spur treatment

Doctors seldom operate on heel spurs anymore, although it was once a fairly common practice. Now doctors focus on non-surgical interventions such as stretching exercises, physical therapy, specially designed shoes and custom heel spur insoles. For those more difficult cases, the doctor may inject a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and the resulting pain. OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen are also frequently helpful in reducing the symptoms of heel spurs.

Surprisingly, rest is not effective for this condition. In fact, you may experience more pain after a night's sleep than you did during the previous day's activities simply because the plantar fascia is particularly sensitive until it stretches once more.

Superfeet help for heel spurs

Prevention of the development of a heel spur starts by wearing supportive and properly fitting footwear for your activities. Once you've received a diagnosis, adding the orthotic support of Superfeet shape to your footwear can help provide heel spur pain relief and keep your feet as comfortable as possible. 

Which Superfeet insole is best for heel spur treatment?

To find the right Superfeet, start with your shoes. What type of shoes are you wearing? What you are doing in those shoes? We think you deserve to experience the I-never-knew-my-feet-could-feel-this-good benefits of the Superfeet shape in all your footwear. That’s why we make insoles for casual and dress shoesshoe inserts for high heelsinsoles for hikinginsoles for running shoesinsoles for snow sportsinsoles for skates, and more.  Need help finding the best Superfeet for you?  Take the online insole finder quiz.

May 17, 2021