Did You Know? The Heel Spur in Your Foot is NOT Why Your Foot is Hurting.

Did You Know? The Heel Spur in Your Foot is NOT Why Your Foot is Hurting.

March 3, 2023

One of the most debilitating things you can deal with in your life is foot pain. It’s that searing pain in the bottom of your foot, especially when you first get out of bed in the morning. You know what it is. You don’t even need Dr. Google to figure out you have plantar fasciitis.

So, you go to the doctor and x-rays show a noticeable heel spur. A-HA! THAT’S WHY you’re having pain isn’t it?? Well, actually, NO! It’s not the reason.

One of the more common misconceptions is that the heel spur in your foot is WHY your foot is hurting. I see it all the time. A patient walks in and says, “I have plantar fasciitis and a heel spur in my foot is what’s causing my problem.” The reality is that the heel spur is just a finding on the x-ray and really has nothing to do with the pain in your foot. You see, any bone spur that develops is your body’s response to friction or stress. If you ever shake hands with a construction worker, he will have callouses on his hands. These are a response to the friction he experiences that come along with his profession. When there are certain stresses on your body, bone spurs form. If you wear a ring on your finger, I’ll bet you have a small callous on your hand where your ring rubs your palm. With respect to your foot, the repeated stress of the plantar fascia pulling on the heel bone created the spur. Over time, the spur just gets bigger and bigger. But despite what you might think, the bone spur is not what’s causing your pain.


Now, I’m about to give away a really big secret here. One I would rather not share because I don’t want to tell my competitors how we have so much success treating this condition but here goes…

Normally, the root cause of plantar fasciitis is tightness in the calf. If you’ve ever had a case of plantar fasciitis, one of the things that your doctor might have recommended for you is a night splint. The night splint is not meant for you to wear and put your ankle on a stretch. No! Like, NO WAY!! Who could stretch for 6-8 hours while they are in bed. The night split is made to PREVENT your calf muscle from shortening overnight. Your foot will droop down when you sleep. This causes the calf muscle to shorten. When you get up in the morning and your feet hit the floor, your calf muscle has to lengthen. If you don’t have the right amount of flexibility, there is extra strain and stress applied to your foot. THIS is what creates the pain associated with the “first steps of the day” that is so common with plantar fasciitis.

You see, when you walk there is a relationship in the flexibility of the calf and the stresses that are applied on the foot. The foot goes through an up and down motion, and this requires a certain amount of flexibility in the ankle. If the calf is tight, then the mobility must come from somewhere and normally, that is the bottom of the foot. Specifically, the plantar fascia. So, the proper treatment is to treat the calf. If you treat the calf, you will in turn, fix the foot pain. When the foot pain is gone, what happened to the heel spur? Well, it’s still there. Like I said earlier, the bone spur is not the problem, it’s just a finding.

Another popular treatment is stretching the bottom of the foot. Personally, I’m not a believer in stretching an already overstretched tissue. Instead, I’d rather see you stretch the calf and protect the irritated tissue. This will most effectively address the root cause of the problem and ultimately, resolve the issue.

Now, you might be wondering, what’s causing the tightness in the calf? For that answer, you will have to come see us.

If you, or someone you know, are having plantar fasciitis or any other type of foot pain and feel like you have “tried everything,” we invite you to call our office and schedule a FREE Complimentary Consultation to see if we can help.

Even if you have already tried Physical Therapy in the past, our approach is so different, chances are you’ve never seen anything like it.

Call our office at 770-622-5344

Johns Creek Physical Therapy 4060 Johns Creek Pkwy, Suite H Suwanee, GA 30024