A heel spur is caused by the build-up of calcium on the heel bone, often aggravated by the stretching or tearing of foot muscles and ligaments, according to WebMD. Athletes that run and jump are at greater risk of developing heel spurs, as are people who are obese. Heel spurs are also associated with arthritis and plantar fasciitis, states MedicineNet.
People who wear poorly fitted shoes, run on hard surfaces or spend the day on their feet are more likely to develop heel spurs, warns WebMD. Heel spurs often lack symptoms and may only be discovered on an X-ray, but some patients have reported chronic or intermittent pain due to inflammation. This pain usually appears or worsens while walking, jogging or running and may present as a sharp pain in the morning that reappears throughout the day.
Heel spurs are very responsive to nonsurgical treatments, according to WebMD. A doctor or physical therapist may recommend certain stretches, orthotic shoe inserts, physical therapy or different shoes altogether. Taping the appropriate area may also provide relief and support. Over-the-counter pain medication may help manage pain in the meantime. After nine to 12 months of treatment, if pain continues and mobility is affected, surgery may be recommended to remove the spur and release the plantar fascia.