Bone spurs are a common foot problem. These small outgrowths of bone, or spurs, are themselves harmless—but depending on their location, they can lead to other foot problems.

Spurs in the feet usually develop near the toes, in the heel, and on top of the big toe joint. Some of these spurs can cause friction or irritation, either from shoes or other structures of the foot.

Foot problems caused by heel spurs

Bone spurs in the heel are referred to specifically as heel spurs. These growths of bone form on the underside and forepart of the heel bone. Heel spurs happen when the plantar fascia—the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot—pulls at the heel bone attachment, and the area calcifies over a period of months to form a spur. This condition is often associated with plantar fasciitis.

Heel spurs are a common condition for athletes, especially runners or those involved in sports with a lot of jumping.

Treating heel spurs

Most heel spurs can be treated with conventional methods. Treatment for this condition may include anti-inflammatory medication or cortisone injections, as well as wearing orthotics or corrective shoes. In some cases, such as severe spurring or recurring pain, surgery may be required to correct heel spurs.

You can reduce the risk of heel spurs by practicing proper warm-ups before physical activity or sports, and by wearing well-fitting athletic shoes.