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Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are small, bony growths on the underside of the heel bone. They usually are less than a quarter of an inch (6 mm) long. But they may be longer.

  • Most spurs do not cause weight-bearing problems when the person stands or moves.
  • In the past, experts thought that heel spurs caused heel pain and plantar fasciitis.

There is now some disagreement about heel spurs:

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  • Some experts believe heel spurs may occur with plantar fasciitis but are unrelated to it. Others believe heel spurs cause heel pain. And some believe heel spurs are a natural result of aging.
  • In general, heel spurs are believed to be the result of the process of plantar fasciitis development, not the cause of it. They may occur due to inflammation and to the pulling of the plantar fascia on the heel bone.

Doctors agree that the appearance of heel spurs on an X-ray does not by itself mean that a person needs surgery. Some people have heel spurs and no pain. Other people have heel pain and no spurs.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Barry L. Scurran, DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
Last Revised July 13, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 13, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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