Heel spurs occur when a calcium deposit forms on the bottom of the heel bone. When viewed on an x-ray, heel spurs can extend out as much as a half-inch. Even without x-ray confirmation, many heel spurs can be identified during a physical exam. Fortunately, heel spurs are often painless. However, heel pain is a common symptom of the condition. There are a number of ways to address the pain associated with heel spurs, including steroid injections.
Heel spurs are often the result of strained muscles or ligaments in the foot. Athletes, particularly those who run and jump are at risk of developing the issue.
Other risk factors for the development of heel spurs include:
• An abnormal gait, or walking pattern, that unevenly distributed weight and pressure on the heel
• Running on hard surfaces
• Wearing shoes that do not fit well or that do not provide sufficient support for your arches
• Being overweight or obese
• Being of an advanced age
• Standing for long periods of time during the work day
Often, there are no symptoms associated with heel spurs. When pain does occur it will be more intense while the patient is walking, running or jogging. Inflammation can develop which results in pain that many describe as knifing at first and then transitioning into dull pain.