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Heel spurs: Do they always cause pain?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 6, 2021.

No. It's possible to have a heel spur — a bony growth that usually begins on the front of your heel bone and points toward the arch of your foot — without realizing it. Heel spurs don't always cause pain. In fact, heel spurs often show up unexpectedly on X-rays taken for some other problem.

Heel spurs occur in at least half the people who have plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis), a painful condition involving the thick tissue that runs between your heel bone and your toes.

In the past, doctors often performed surgery to remove heel spurs, believing them to be the cause of the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. In treating plantar fasciitis now, doctors rely more on ice, arch supports (orthotics), physical therapy and pain medications, and surgery is rarely performed.

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