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Symptoms and diagnosis of heel spur

A heel spur occurs when the calcaneal ligament becomes calcified and appears to have formed a 'bone' generating a strong pain in the heel, as if it were a needle, when the person rises from the bed and places the foot on the floor, for example.

To relieve spur pain there are simple treatments, such as the use of orthopedic silicone insoles and foot massage, but it is also important to do leg and foot stretching. Other options are physical therapy, and in the latter case surgery to remove the spur.

Symptoms and diagnosis of heel spur
Symptoms and diagnosis of heel spur

How to know if it is a heel spur

The only symptom is the pain in the sole of the foot, in the region where the bone is formed, which is a sharp, pointed pain. The pain worsens when walking, running or jumping, for example, disappearing after some time at rest.

The orthopedist or physiotherapist may suspect that it is a spur because of the characteristic symptoms that the person presents, but the X-ray examination is essential to observe the formation of this little bone in the heel.

What to do if it is a heel spur

What should be done in case of pain caused by a heel spur is resting the foot to relieve the pain. However, if the pain persists for more than 15 minutes, other options are:

  • Pass a tennis ball on the foot, especially on the heel, which can be done standing or sitting and relieves the pain instantly;
  • Stretch the fascia, pulling your toes up and also the entire back of the leg;
  • Physiotherapy with appliances and exercises, including global postural reeducation and osteopathy that realign all structures of the body, eliminating the cause of your spur;
  • If you are overweight, you should diet and exercise to lose weight and reach your ideal weight;
  • Stretching exercises for the feet and legs. Good examples are: take a step back, the heel touches the floor and you "push" the wall with your hands;
  • Put a towel on the floor and go pulling it with your fingers, another way is to pick up marbles and put in a bucket, for example. You can pick up 20 balls a day, but you should always remember to have your heel resting on the ground;
  • The doctor may still recommend shockwave therapy, corticosteroid infiltration, or surgery, if the rest is not enough.

It is also very important to wear comfortable shoes, not to wear flip flops or sandals, and if possible do leg and foot stretching exercises daily. See the possible treatments for a heel spur.

Causes for heel spur

The spur in the heel arises due to the accumulation of calcium under the foot over several months, which happens due to the excessive pressure on the same site and mainly due to the increased tension on the plantar fascia, which is a tissue that connects the bone from the heel to the toes.

Heel spur is more common in people who:

  • Are above the ideal weight;
  • Have a very high arch or a very flat foot;
  • Have a habit of running on very hard surfaces, like on the asphalt, without the proper running shoes;
  • Practice activities that include constantly jumping on a hard surface, as is the case of artistic or rhythmic gymnastics;
  • Use hard shoes and they need to walk for many hours, during work, for example.

These risk factors increase the pressure on the heel and, therefore, can lead to micro-injuries that facilitate the formation of the spur.


  • KISNER, Carolyn; COLBY Lynn Allen. Exercícios terapêuticos: Fundamentos e Técnicas. 6ª.ed. São Paulo: Manole, 2016. 868-870.
  • Mark Dutton. Fisioterapia ortopédica: exame, avaliação e intervenção. 2ª.ed. Porto Alegre: Artmed, 2010.
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