Our Knowledgeable Texas Podiatrists Explain How to Treat Heel Spurs and Why They Are Permanent Once They Form

If you develop heel spurs, you may not even know it. It takes time for a heel spur to grow, and only when you suffer heal pain will you likely become aware of this bony growth. Nearly 40% of Americans have heel spurs, and the condition is more common as you age. But only about five percent of those who have a heel spur will feel pain. Why heel spurs never go away

Our Texas podiatrists understand what causes heel spurs, how to treat the pain they cause, and why these spurs don’t go away on their own. If you believe you’re suffering from a heel spur, schedule an appointment with Dr. Harvey or Dr. Nichols at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. We can discuss your heel pain and the best way to treat it.

Our Texas Podiatrists Talk Heel Spurs and the Pain They Cause

Heel spurs, also known as calcaneal spurs, are sharp, bony outgrowths made of calcium that develop on the underside of the heel bone. These calcium deposits most often develop due to strain that’s placed on the foot ligaments and muscles and/or because of repeated tearing of the membrane that protects the heel bones. If you spend a lot of time on your feet or don’t protect your feet, you may develop heel spurs and suffer from the pain they cause.

Other Causes of Heel Spurs

There are other foot conditions and activities that can cause heel spurs to develop, including the following:

Activities That Place Excessive Stress on Your Feet

Activities that place repetitive stress on your feet, such as running, jogging, or dancing, can cause excessive pressure on the heel bone and the surrounding soft tissues. Walking on hard surfaces can also add strain. Over time, this repetitive stress can lead to irritation and inflammation of the plantar fascia or other muscles and ligaments in the foot, which can sometimes result in the formation of a heel spur.

Gait Abnormalities and Posture Issues

Gait abnormalities, including overpronation (rolling inward of the foot), supination (rolling outward of the foot), or an uneven distribution of weight while walking, can lead to heel spurs. These foot positions can alter the biomechanics of the foot and result in increased pressure and strain on certain areas, such as the heel. This can contribute to the development of heel spurs over time.

Shoes That Don’t Fit Properly

Shoes with inadequate arch support, insufficient cushioning in the heel area, or rigid soles can increase pressure on the heel bone and the plantar fascia, leading to irritation and inflammation. Additionally, shoes that are too tight or too loose can alter foot biomechanics and contribute to gait abnormalities, further increasing the risk of heel spurs. We often see high heels or flip-flops as types of shoes that cause heel spur issues.

Excessive Body Weight

Excess body weight can place additional stress and pressure on the feet, particularly the heel area. Additionally, carrying excess weight can also contribute to gait abnormalities, further increasing the risk of developing heel spurs.

Flat Feet or High Arches

Flat feet can result in overpronation, where the foot rolls inward excessively during walking or running, leading to increased strain on the plantar fascia and the heel bone. Conversely, high arches can result in supination, where the foot rolls outward excessively, also increasing strain on the heel area. Both of these conditions can contribute to the development of heel spurs over time.


As you age, the natural wear and tear on the body can lead to changes in bone structure, which may contribute to the formation of heel spurs. Over time, calcium deposits can accumulate in the heel bone in response to repetitive stress and strain on the foot, leading to the development of heel spurs. Additionally, age-related changes in foot flexibility can further increase the risk of developing heel spurs, too.

Non-Surgical Heel Spur Treatments and Prevention

It’s likely that you won’t know you have a heel spur unless it begins to cause pain and you see it on an X-ray. When you speak with our podiatrists, they’ll likely offer you two main options: treatment for the pain or surgery to remove the heel spur. Because only about 10% of people who suffer from a heel spur will require surgery to remove it, you likely won’t need invasive treatment to manage yours.

There are a number of heel spur treatments that focus on relieving pain and taking stress off your foot’s muscles and ligaments, including the following:

  • Resting your feet
  • Stretching your feet, especially in the morning and before bed
  • Icing your heels/using cold therapy, especially after exercise
  • Using heat therapy on the bottom of the foot
  • Using compression
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Receiving prescription anti-inflammatory injections
  • Buying properly fitting shoes with padding and a slightly raised heel
  • Using orthotic shoe supports
  • Receiving physical therapy
  • Receiving shock wave therapy

A podiatrist can help you form a treatment plan to help relieve your heel spur pain and discomfort, including giving you individualized, detailed plans for cold therapy, stretching, and rest.

Heel Spur Surgery

Once a heel spur has formed, it’s permanent, and surgery is the only way to remove it. However, most people who have a heel spur don’t even know it, so treating the cause of your heel pain often helps relieve it. However, in some cases, non-invasive treatments won’t relieve heel spur pain. If your pain can’t be relieved without surgery, your podiatrist may recommend this solution to shave down or remove the calcium deposit from your heel bone. Surgery to release or repair the plantar fascia ligament may also help prevent future heel spurs from forming.

Seeing a Texas Podiatrist

The first step in stopping heel spur pain is getting a diagnosis and talking to a podiatrist about a treatment plan that will work for you. Stop living with foot pain and take a step in the direction of a lifetime of healthy feet.