Heel spurs are caused by several factors including strain to the muscles and ligaments of the feet; stretching to the plantar fascia ligament that attaches to the bottom of the heel; or repeated tearing of the membrane covering the heel bone, according to WebMD. Heel spurs occur as calcium deposits accrue on the heel bone in response to repeated trauma and take months to develop.
Heel spurs can occur without pain or other symptoms. However, heel spurs frequently occur in tandem with plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament that attaches to the bottom of the heel bone, explains MedicineNet. Heel spurs also occur on the back of the heel and are related to inflammation of the Achilles tendon.
WebMD explains that heel spurs, which develop into a pointed, bony prominence, cause pain through the soft tissues damaged when walking, running or standing for long periods of time. Heel spurs are common among athletes and others who spend a long time walking or running on hard surfaces. Other common factors in the development of heel spurs include worn out, poorly fitted shoes; shoes without proper arch support; excessive weight or obesity; and walking gait abnormalities.
MedicineNet explains that treatment of heel spurs focuses on reduction of pain and inflammation through use of icing and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, stretching exercises and properly supportive footwear that may include orthotics or other shoe inserts.