5 Effective Treatments for Painful Heel Spurs

Feb 01, 2024
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Heel spurs cause foot pain, but fortunately, some treatments can help. If you have heel spurs, here are five therapies you might want to try.

Heel spurs are a common cause of heel pain, often accompanied by pain extending along the sole of your foot. Also called calcaneal spurs, heel spurs involve inflammation and irritation; without proper treatment, the painful symptoms they cause can quickly worsen.

Joel S Segalman, FACFAS, FACFAOStephen Lazaroff, DPM, FACFAS, and the team at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC, use patient-centered heel spur treatment to help patients in Waterbury and Newtown, Connecticut, relieve nagging foot pain. 

Why heel spurs happen

Along the edge of the heel bone, bony growths can form called heel spurs. While spurs don’t always cause symptoms, they’re common, occurring in about 15% of women and men.

Heel spurs tend to form in response to inflammation or irritation in the heel area. When irritation occurs, your body responds by “building” a protective layer of bone that can wind up poking into surrounding soft tissues, ironically increasing inflammation and irritation in the area.

While anyone can develop heel spurs, they tend to be more common among people with risk factors such as:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Running or jogging habit
  • Gait disorders

They can also happen more frequently among people who are overweight or obese.

Treating painful heel spurs

Initially, you might find some relief with over-the-counter medications, elevation, and ice packs. But as your symptoms progress, you may need other options to help you.

Here are five treatments that can help you feel better:


Orthotics are custom shoe inserts designed for your foot shape and the issues you’re experiencing. Inserts help distribute your body weight evenly across your foot to help reduce strain and pressure on the heel area.

For heel spurs, orthotics also provide ample arch support and additional cushioning around the heel area, reducing painful symptoms while supporting normal, healthy foot movement. Because they’re for your specific foot shape, custom orthotics are far superior to over-the-counter insoles designed for the general population using materials that break down more quickly.

Night splints

Night splints are supportive devices worn while you sleep to provide foot support and prevent “drooping” positions that can exacerbate heel pain. Splints help keep your foot anatomy in an ideal position, reducing pressure on the heel ligaments and decreasing irritation and inflammation that drive painful symptoms.

Splints also decrease the pain often felt when first getting up in the morning. Splints help improve foot movement and flexibility by reducing inflammation while you sleep.

Steroid injections

Steroid injections deliver anti-inflammatory medication directly to inflamed, irritated tissues. Steroid injections provide rapid relief, reducing swelling and tissue compression that can make irritation and pain worse.

Steroid injections can “jump-start” healing. While you can use them separately, you can combine these injections with other treatment options, like physical therapy, splints, and medications.

Physical therapy

Many people benefit from therapeutic exercises and stretching designed to strengthen the muscles and tissue that support the foot during movement. These exercises help improve circulation for natural healing while also reducing inflammation in the heel area.

Our team recommends specific exercises that you can do at home. Exercise can help provide long-lasting relief from painful symptoms when combined with night splints and orthotics.

Extracorporeal pulse activation technology (EPAT)

Also called soundwave therapy, EPAT uses deeply penetrating sound waves (or acoustic pressure waves) to activate natural healing responses around the heel area. By regulating energy pulses delivered to your foot, EPAT helps stimulate circulation while reducing painful inflammation.

EPAT also promotes tissue regeneration and repair to help heal damage associated with heel spurs. Because it’s noninvasive, EPAT can regularly sustain painful symptoms.

Find relief for your heel pain

If you’re bothered by heel pain, we can help. To learn more, request an appointment online or over the phone with the Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists team today.