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Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute
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Is It a Bone Spur or Plantar Fasciitis?

We have a lot of patients coming into our office that think their pain caused by bone spurs, what they are experiencing is actually plantar fasciitis from another cause. They may have even been told by a primary care physician that they have bone spurs that are causing them problems. However, the fact is that many people have osteophytes, or, "bone spurs," which are slightly raised bony projections that are usually the effect of osteoarthritis. The spurs themselves cause no pain, but if they are large enough or projecting in the right way, it's possible for them to irritate the tendons nearby and cause tendonitis. 

Many people that experience plantar fasciitis (inflamed plantar tendon) think the cause may be a bone spur. It makes sense, because usually heel pain is only felt when you step on your foot a certain way. The pain is usually most intense on your first few steps after being at rest. The name plantar fasciitis simply means having an inflamed plantar fascia, which is the casing of the muscle that runs from your heel to your toes. A bone spur may be the cause, but that is actually pretty rare. Usually the source of plantar fasciitis is a tight Achilles tendon or plantar fascia. The increased pressure and rubbing from this condition can actually cause bone spurs. So, certainly, bone spurs may be present, but removing them may not remove the pain. We do remove a number of calcaneal bone spurs, however only along with treatment for the plantar fascia as well.

Usually treatment for the plantar fasciitis is enough to resolve the pain. Treatment options vary in intensity from things as simple as stretches to more invasive treatments like surgery. One procedure we commonly do in our office is a very effective and only slightly invasive Topaz Radiocoblation treatment. 

The best option if you are experiencing heel pain, is to get a podiatric examination. With the help of X-Rays and other diagnostic measures, we can determine how to best resolve your pain.

Brandt R Gibson, DPM
Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute