How Do You Relieve Heel Spur Pain? – Tips and Treatment Options

Relieving heel spur pain can be quite a challenge. It can make walking or running almost impossible and take a toll on one’s overall quality of life. But what if I told you there are effective methods to relieve the pain?

Did you know that simply changing the shoes you wear can alleviate the discomfort of a heel spur? It’s important to choose shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Also, avoid high heels and shoes with thin soles as they can exacerbate the pain.

Another way to ease heel spur pain is through stretching exercises. Tight calf muscles can contribute to pain, so stretching them can help. There are many simple stretches you can do at home, such as using a towel to pull your foot toward you while keeping your leg straight. By incorporating these methods into your routine, you can make strides toward relieving heel spur pain.

What is a heel spur?

A heel spur is a bony growth on the heel bone that often forms where the plantar fascia, a tough band of tissue that runs from the heel bone to the toes, attaches to the bone. This condition is also known as plantar fasciitis or heel spur syndrome.

Heel spurs are usually associated with chronic inflammation caused by the repetitive stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia. This condition is common among athletes, especially those who engage in running, jumping, and other high-impact activities that put a lot of stress on the feet.

Heel spurs are often seen in people who have flat feet, high arches, or tight Achilles tendons. The condition can be very painful, and it can make it difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time.

Causes of Heel Spurs

Heel spurs, also known as calcaneal spurs, are bony growths that occur on the bottom of the heel bone. They are often associated with plantar fasciitis and can cause acute pain and discomfort. The causes of heel spurs can vary from person to person, but there are a few common factors that contribute to their development.

  • Poor Foot Mechanics: When your foot strike is off or your gait is improper, it puts additional stress on specific areas of the foot, leading to wear and tear. This can eventually lead to the formation of a heel spur.
  • Repetitive Stress: High-impact activities such as running and jumping can repeatedly stress the heel bone, leading to the formation of a heel spur over time.
  • Tight Muscles and Tendons: Tightness in the calf muscles or Achilles tendon can contribute to the development of heel spurs. When these areas are tight, it puts more tension on the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation and the formation of a heel spur.

It’s also essential to consider underlying medical conditions that can cause heel spurs, such as arthritis and diabetes. These conditions can contribute to the development of bone spurs as they increase inflammation and stress on the foot.

Overall, the causes of heel spurs are multi-faceted, and it’s often a combination of factors that lead to their development. Addressing the root cause of your heel spur pain is essential to finding lasting relief, rather than just treating the symptoms.

If you’re experiencing heel spur pain, consult with a medical professional to identify the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan that works for you.

Symptoms of Heel Spurs

Heel spurs, also known as calcaneal spurs, are bony protrusions that develop on the underside of the heel bone. They can cause a sharp pain or discomfort in the heel and can be felt first thing in the morning as you get out of bed. Below are the common symptoms of heel spurs:

  • Chronic pain in the heel, particularly when walking, running, or standing for long periods of time.
  • A sharp, stabbing pain in the heel which occurs when standing or walking, causing a limp or altered gait.
  • Swelling and inflammation which is often worse in the morning, but can get worse throughout the day.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should visit a doctor or healthcare professional, who will be able to diagnose heel spurs (often through X-rays) and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Conservative treatments for heel spur pain

Heel spur pain can be a debilitating condition that affects your daily activities. However, surgery is not always necessary as there are various conservative treatments that can help alleviate the pain. Here are some of the conservative treatments for heel spur pain:

  • Rest and activity modification: One of the most basic and essential treatments is rest. Avoid activities that cause pain and discomfort, such as running or jumping. Instead, try low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling to maintain fitness.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can be an effective treatment for heel spur pain. A physical therapist can provide instruction and guidance on exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the foot and leg, which can alleviate pain and discomfort.
  • Ice and heat therapy: Applying ice or heat to the affected area can also help alleviate pain. Ice therapy can help reduce inflammation, while heat therapy can help increase blood flow to the area.

Here are some other conservative treatments for heel spur pain:

Orthotics: Orthotics are shoe inserts that can help realign the foot and relieve pressure on the heel bone. They are custom-made for the individual and can help reduce pain and discomfort.

Night splints: Night splints are devices worn while sleeping that help stretch the plantar fascia, which can alleviate pain and discomfort.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

It is important to note that these treatments may take time and consistency to show improvement. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting any treatment plan for heel spur pain.

Additionally, proper footwear can also help prevent and alleviate heel spur pain. Choose shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning for the foot. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight and avoid activities that put excessive strain on the foot, such as standing for long periods or wearing high heels.

Treatment Pros Cons
Rest and activity modification Simple and accessible May require lifestyle changes
Physical therapy Customized exercises Requires commitment and multiple sessions
Ice and heat therapy Easy to use at home Temporary relief
Orthotics Customized support Can be expensive and not covered by insurance
Night splints Passive stretching May disrupt sleep

Overall, conservative treatments can be an effective way to alleviate heel spur pain without surgery. Consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs.

Medical treatments for heel spur pain

If you’re suffering from heel spur pain, you’ll be relieved to know that there are several medical treatments available to alleviate the discomfort. Here are five of the most common options:

  • Orthotics: These are shoe inserts that are molded to your feet to provide extra support and cushioning. They can help redistribute pressure away from the affected area and relieve pain.
  • Corticosteroid injections: Your doctor may recommend injecting a corticosteroid into the affected area to reduce inflammation and pain. However, these injections are typically only used for short-term relief and can have side effects if used repeatedly.
  • Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises can help relieve heel spur pain by improving your foot and ankle flexibility and reducing pressure on the affected area.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where other treatments have failed, surgery may be necessary to remove the heel spur or release the plantar fascia. However, this is typically seen as a last resort and is considered a major procedure that may require an extended recovery period.
  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT): This is a non-invasive procedure where high-energy sound waves are directed at the affected area to stimulate healing and relieve pain. It’s typically performed on an outpatient basis and may require several sessions.

It’s important to discuss your options with your doctor and develop a treatment plan that’s right for you. Depending on the severity of your heel spur pain and your overall health, one or more of these treatments may be recommended. Remember – the earlier you seek treatment, the more likely you are to experience relief and avoid more invasive procedures down the line.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Heel Spurs

Prevention is key when it comes to heel spurs. Making certain lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of developing heel spurs or alleviate the discomfort that comes with them. Here are some effective ways to prevent heel spurs:

  • Stretching regularly: Regular stretching can help keep your feet flexible and reduce strain on your heel bone and plantar fascia, which can lead to heel spurs.
  • Wearing proper shoes: Wearing shoes with good arch support and cushioning can help ease the pressure on your feet and prevent strains on your heel bone.
  • Avoiding high-impact exercises: High-impact exercises like running, jumping, and dancing can put too much strain on your heel bone and cause heel spurs.

Other important lifestyle changes to prevent heel spurs include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can increase the pressure on your feet and lead to heel spurs.
  • Wearing the right shoes for your sport: Different sports require different types of shoes, so make sure you wear shoes that are suitable for your activity.
  • Taking breaks during your workday: If you have a job that requires you to stand or walk for extended periods, take frequent breaks to give your feet rest.

By implementing these lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of developing heel spurs or alleviate the discomfort if you already have them.


Heel spurs are a painful condition that can interfere with your daily life. However, taking proper care of your feet and making certain lifestyle changes can go a long way in preventing heel spurs or relieving the pain associated with them.

Lifestyle Changes Benefits
Regular stretching Keeps feet flexible and reduces strain
Wearing proper shoes Provides arch support and cushioning to ease pressure on feet and reduce heel bone strains
Avoiding high-impact exercises Limits pressure on heel bone to prevent heel spurs
Maintaining a healthy weight Reduces foot pressure and prevents heel spurs
Wearing the right shoes for your sport Prevents strain on the heel bone and reduces the risk of heel spurs
Taking breaks during workday Provides rest for feet to reduce stress and prevent heel spurs

By incorporating these lifestyle changes into your daily routine, you can alleviate or prevent heel spurs, keep your feet healthy, and live a pain-free life.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Heel Spurs

If you are experiencing heel spur pain, it is essential to know when to seek medical attention. While some cases of heel spurs can be treated at home with rest and conservative measures, more severe cases may require medical intervention. Here are some signs that you should see a doctor:

  • If your heel pain is persistent and does not respond to at-home treatment.
  • If you have trouble walking or standing due to pain.
  • If your heel pain is accompanied by swelling, redness, or warmth.

When you visit a doctor for heel spur pain, they will perform a physical examination and may order imaging tests like X-rays or an MRI. Based on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

Treatment Description
Rest and ice Limiting activity and icing the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Physical therapy A physical therapist can teach you exercises and stretches to reduce pain and improve flexibility.
Orthotics Shoe inserts can help distribute pressure evenly across the foot and reduce pain.
Medications Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain.
Surgery In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the heel spur and relieve pain.

It is important to note that untreated heel spur pain can lead to chronic foot problems and even affect your ability to walk. If you are experiencing persistent heel pain, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention to get the relief you need.

FAQs: How do you relieve heel spur pain?

1. What is a heel spur and why does it cause pain?

A heel spur is a bony growth that forms on the heel bone, typically caused by repeated stress or strain on the plantar fascia ligament. This can cause pain and discomfort in the heel area.

2. How do I know if I have a heel spur?

If you experience pain in your heel area, especially when you first wake up in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time, you may have a heel spur. You can confirm this with an X-ray.

3. What are some at-home remedies to relieve heel spur pain?

Some at-home remedies include: stretching the foot and calf muscles, applying ice or heat to the affected area, wearing properly cushioned shoes, and using orthotic inserts.

4. Can exercises help relieve heel spur pain?

Yes, certain exercises can help stretch and strengthen the muscles in the foot and calf, which can alleviate heel spur pain over time. Consult with a physical therapist for personalized exercises.

5. Are there any medications or treatments for heel spur pain?

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain in the heel area. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections or surgery.

6. How long does it take to heal from a heel spur?

Heel spurs can take several months to a year to fully heal, and it may require a combination of at-home remedies, exercises, and medical treatments.

7. Can I prevent heel spurs from developing?

Yes, wearing properly cushioned shoes, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding activities that put excessive pressure on the feet (like running on hard surfaces) can help prevent the development of heel spurs.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for taking the time to read this article on how to relieve heel spur pain. We hope that some of these tips and remedies have been helpful to you. If you continue to experience pain or discomfort, it’s important to consult with a doctor or physical therapist to get personalized treatment. Don’t let heel spur pain keep you from being active and living your life to the fullest. Keep visiting our blog for more helpful health and wellness tips!