To Heal the Heel: An In-Depth Look at Heel Spur Treatments


A heel spur can be seen on an x-ray.  It shows up as a hook on the heel bone where it is attached to the plantar fascia.  Plantar fasciitis may or may not be an accompanying condition.

Heel spurs can usually be successfully treated non-surgically if detected early.  The goal of any treatment is to reduce/eliminate inflammation and avoid reinjury.

Legs walking

It is possible that simple at-home treatments may be effective in reducing the pain caused by heel spurs.  Elevating the foot, applying heat, or putting a cushion in the heel of the shoe might help diminish the pain.  If these measures do not provide relief, Dr. Burmeister may recommend a more aggressive treatment plan that may include one or a combination of the following:

Stretching exercises

While some exercise and athletic activities actually cause heel spurs, heel spur stretching exercises can aid in their treatment.  Heel spur stretching exercises increase flexibility as they strengthen the plantar fascia, the arch, the heel, the Achilles tendon, and the calf.

Taping or strapping the foot

Taping or strapping the plantar fascia provides short-term relief for discomfort caused by a heel spur by adding support and reducing stress on the plantar fascia ligament.  Taping should be removed periodically to allow your skin to breathe.

Anti-inflammatory medications

Pain related to heel spurs generally responds to medications that are intended to reduce inflammation

such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

Shoe option recommendations

Shoes that are worn or ill-fitting should be replaced.  The best shoes for people with heel spurs will have midfoot support for the arches and cushioned soles for impact reduction.  Removable shoe insoles facilitate the use of custom orthotics.


Custom orthotics that provide arch support, shock absorption, and cushioning are molded and constructed to fit your foot/feet.  They are made to be easily inserted into most any style of shoes to help relieve the pain caused by heel spurs.


The pain and discomfort experienced with a heel spur is caused in part by inflammation of the plantar fascia.  Icing relieves the pain by relieving the inflammation.  It causes constriction of the blood vessels that the body is using to rush blood to the injury.  The blood flow is slowed and inflammation is reduced.  Icing also provides relief by numbing the painful areas.  Care should be taken to not apply ice directly to the skin and to not apply ice for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Corticosteroid injection

Corticosteroid injections provide short-term relief for heel spur symptoms and should only be given after several weeks of unsuccessful nonsurgical treatment.

Physical therapy

Physical therapists are trained to develop a program with goals of reducing the symptoms and discomfort of heel spurs.  All or some of the above-mentioned treatments may be incorporated into that plan.  You will more than likely see your physical therapist on a regular basis to monitor and evaluate your progress.


If the symptoms of heel spurs are not relieved after nine to 12 months of conservative treatment, then surgery may be a last-resort option.  Pain relief and restored mobility are the desired outcomes of surgical procedures that release the plantar fascia, remove the spur, or do both at the same time.  Dr. Burmeister will discuss all surgical treatment options with you to determine your best course of action.


If you are experiencing discomfort due to heel pain, Dr. Jeffrey Burmeister, DPM, and his experienced staff are ready to diagnose and help you deal with your heel spur symptoms.  Schedule an appointment by completing an online appointment request at  or by calling (904) 765-8889.