Identify the Most Common Symptoms of Heel Spurs

You know you have pain in your feet, but how do you know if you have a heel spur?

If any of the following sounds like what you’re experiencing, you might want to make an appointment with one of our top-rated podiatrists at Foot, Ankle & Leg Vein Center in the Boca Raton and Boynton Beach areas.

Jason Gold, DPM, and Jodi Schoenhaus, DPM, FACFAS, are experts in diagnosing and treating heel spurs.  

What are heel spurs?

Heel spurs are small, bony protrusions (aka bumps) that stick out from your heel bone and extend toward the arch of your foot. These pieces of bone may be pointed, shelf-like or even shaped like a hook.

In some cases, they are big enough that you can feel them. But in many cases, they are so far inside the foot that you can’t—at least, not until you take that first step.

What causes heel spurs?

Heel spurs can form when foot muscles are overworked and damaged or when the plantar fascia, the tendon that goes over your arch and connects to your heel, is injured and stretched.

Age also plays a part in forming heel spurs. As you age, the soft pads on the bottom of your feet begin to thin and wear out, leaving your heels vulnerable to injury.

Symptoms of heel spurs

There are many different symptoms of heel spurs. Since it can affect people differently, it’s important to look at each symptom by itself and also in conjunction with other symptoms.

Heel pain

Heel pain is by far the most common symptom of a heel spur. But heel pain is also common with plantar fasciitis. So, you may think you have plantar fasciitis when you might actually have a heel spur.

Here’s how you can tell the difference: Plantar fasciitis pain will often subside after a few steps, but heel spur pain won’t. It can turn into a dull ache that just keeps going.

Dull ache

Another common symptom is having a dull ache in your heel throughout the day, and sometimes, throughout the night. Because the area doesn’t get relief from the bony spur, the tissue remains inflamed and can continue to hurt whether you are walking or not.


Inflammation is another common symptom. With a heel spur, the tissue around the bone will remain irritated and inflamed. The front of your heel, close to your arch, may actually feel warm to the touch. The heat from the area may radiate outward over the arch of your foot and around the back of your heel.

Diagnosing heel spurs

The first step to treating heel spurs is to diagnose them. In some cases, heel spur sufferers may actually feel the bony protrusion or see where the bone spur has caused their shoes or socks to wear unevenly.

But because so many of the symptoms are similar to plantar fasciitis, seeing the bone spur with an X-ray is the only way to definitively diagnose it.

Getting Relief

Once Dr. Schoenhaus or Dr. Gold has diagnosed your heel spur, they have a wide range of ways to treat the condition and help relieve your pain.

To get back on your feet—without screaming in pain—call Dr. Gold or Dr. Schoenhaus at the Foot, Ankle and Leg Vein Center at either their Boca Raton or Boynton Beach location.

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