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Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute
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Is my heel pain from a bone spur or plantar fasciitis?

Many patients come into our office asking about treatment for painful bone spurs.  A bone spur is a little outgrowth of bone.  They can occur anywhere, but people usually complain of them being painful in the heel. 

We do see cases of bone spurs, but usually, bone spurs are painless.  Most people with bone spurs on their heels walk around with no pain.  Usually, the real problem is plantar fasciitis, not bone spurs. 

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia (muscle/ligament lining) on the plantar (bottom) area of the foot is inflamed.  It gets continually stretched and strained because it is too short and becomes dysfunctional and very painful.

So how do you know what is causing your pain? 

  • One of the hallmark signs of PF is intense pain with the first few steps out of bed in the morning.  This is due to the plantar fascia trying to heal during the night and immediately getting strained upon being stretched in the morning. 
  • A quick digital X-ray in our office can detect the presence of bone spurs as a potential source of pain
  • Trying special stretches and moderate treatment can improve pain from plantar fasciitis, but would have no effect if the problem was really bone spurs.
Brandt R Gibson, DPM
Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute