Heel spurs do not always accompany plantar fasciitis, despite the popular notion. The two conditions are, however, often present simultaneously and have similar signs and symptoms. A heel spur is a small, defined calcification that forms where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone. Emanating from the bone, the heel spur grows slowly into the heel flesh. Given how often we are putting pressure on our heels, pain is a given with heel spurs.
Also called a calcaneal spur, it can also form on the heels of those who have arthritis or some other form of heel or anatomical condition on the foot. The heel spur causes additional strain on the plantar fascia, thus increasing pain and swelling. Therefore, the heel spur itself is not always responsible for the pain that accompanies its presence. On a developed x-ray, heel spurs resemble a hook under the skin’s surface along the bottom center of the heel.
While heel spurs can be painful and look even worse when seen on film, they are quite treatable with consistent rest, ice and shoe inserts. Of course, if the pain is or has been consistent, medical attention is a good idea.