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heel spur

Heel Spurs

Healthy feet have a longitudinal and a transverse arch. The weight of our body is dynamically distributed with each step from the heel over the arch of the longitudinal arch, the metatarsal bones and the transverse arch in the forefoot. It comes to a rolling motion.

Longitudinal and transverse vaults are braced by strong muscles and ligaments. As a result, they achieve high stability. The vault makes the foot resilient and, to a degree, flexible. This protects him, for example, from wear.

To prevent the arch of the foot becoming flattered, it is spanned by a tendon plate called the plantar aponeurosis. It rises from the inner part of the heel bone and then turns into straps attached to the toes. The tendon plate is made of fibrous material. If it is permanently overloaded, for example, by long-running or standing on hard floors, obesity, foot deformities such as kinking foot, wrong and bad footwear or lack of warm-up phases during training, the plantar fascia can become inflamed. It creates too much pressure on the tendon plate. 

In the tendon plate, microcracks may form on the overstressed portions. The surrounding tissue is chronically inflamed. As a result, lime deposits here, which closes the cracks and virtually stabilizes the tendon plate. This is how the bone spur arises.

heel spur

What is the heel spur?

A heel spur usually causes uncomfortable, sharp pains in the heel area. Especially in the morning after getting up, they are often very violent. One has the feeling of having stepped on a nail. The pain usually subsides after a few steps.

A heel spur is detectable by X-ray only in about 10% of the population. As often no discomfort occurs, a heel spur often goes undetected and becomes noticeable only through pain during prolonged overload. The symptoms worsen significantly during longer running. Pain is also running on hard ground.


A heel spur can grow up to ten millimeters. It is diagnostically detectable by applying pressure to the middle of the heel bone during palpation. This leads to a pain sensation. If no heel spur is detectable in the X-ray, computerized tomography (MRI) may detect chronic inflammation of the tendon plate.

Who is particularly vulnerable?

  • Long-distance runner
  • Weekend runners in middle age: Fat pads in the heel are almost “shock absorbers”. They shrink with age.
  • Overweight
  • People with untreated misalignment (kink-dropping) of the foot

How to prevent a heel spur

If exercising regularly, you should protect your feet from being overworked. Take time to warm up and stretch before sport. Equally important are stretching exercises, even after exercise.

Pain in the heel is usually a sign of congestion. Sport should be avoided in the pain phase. Rest the foot and cool the heel with ice.

Overweight people should try to reduce their weight. As a result, the arch of the foot can be relieved considerably while walking.

How is a heel spur treated?

There are several non-surgical methods to successfully treat a heel spur:

  • Insoles: They prevent direct contact between the heel and the floor when walking. This relieves the painful point on the heel.
  • Physiotherapy: stretching exercises, physical therapy
  • Shock wave therapy: concentrated high-energy sound waves are directed at the painful point
  • Special rails: They are worn at night and pull (stretch) the forefoot about 5 ° in the direction of the head.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs for support

If conservative treatments are not successful, surgery is the last resort.