What is the difference between a heel spur and plantar fasciitis?

heel spur treatment

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a fibrous band that runs across the sole of the foot. Heel spurs are soft deposits of calcium that appear when the plantar fascia has been under constant strain.

Plantar fasciitis and heel spur treatments and causes

The plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone and the front of the foot, and acts to support the arch of the foot. When it is constantly pulled and irritated, the heel bone begins to deposit calcium outwards in the shape of a spur.

Originally it was thought that the heel spur was a cause of heel pain. However we now know that this is not the case – the plantar fascia causes the heel pain, not the heel spur. Research suggests that the presence of a heel spur may be a sign that the plantar fascia is under excessive load and is therefore pulling on it’s attachment to the heel bone. As the plantar fascia pulls on the heel bone, your body responds by forming more bone ie. the heel spur. Also, not all heel spurs are painful. 1 in 10 people have a heel spur, however only 1 in 20 people with heel spurs has heel pain.

What causes heel spurs and plantar fasciitis?

Risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis or heel spurs:

  • Tight calf muscles
  • Flat foot
  • High foot arches
  • Overweight
  • High impact activity (jumping, running)
  • New or increased activity

How is heel pain treated?

So now that we know heel spurs are not the cause of heel pain, how do we treat the painful heel?

Regardless of whether there is a heel spur present, the treatment remains the same. It is dictated by the individual’s assessment results, meaning that once we can see what is causing the condition, we treat that directly. It may be a combination of tight calves or ankle restriction, flat feet or high foot arches, a change in body weight or exercise type. Once we know what is causing the plantar fasciitis or heel spur pain, we can tailor the right treatment for you.

This could involve a combination of taping, padding, orthotics (shoe inserts), shcokwave therapy, stretching, movement retraining and strengthening exercises.

If you are concerned about your heel pain, seek treatment today.


podiatrists eastern suburbs

Make a podiatrist appointment for plantar fasciitis and heel spur treatments.

Our highly qualified and experienced podiatrists are experts in biomechanics and it’s our philosophy that the finest foot care requires an entirely bespoke experience. That’s why we are dedicated to providing entirely tailor-made diagnosis and treatment services that are the best in Australia.

Our dynamic practice has a holistic approach to resolving foot complaints.

From assessment and diagnosis to extraordinary treatment, every step of your journey with us will deliver you the ultimate podiatric experience, resulting in healthier and happier feet.

Book a consultation with our podiatrists in Sydney (Macquarie St)Darlinghurst and Randwick to discuss your condition and we’ll get you pain-free and back to full function as smoothly and quickly as possible, so you can return to the activities and life you love.



The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.