What Does a Heel Spur Look Like

A Common Question at the Heel Clinic – What Does a Heel Spur Look Like?

The podiatrists at the Heel Clinic often report one of the most common questions from patients being what does a heel spur look like? The image below will answer the question accordingly. As you can see, a heel spur is similar to a rose thorn and usually protrudes from the base or the posterior aspect of the heel. The heel spurs can be described as plantar heel spurs or posterior heel spur. A simple X-ray is sufficient in order to demonstrate the shape and presence of a heel spur. Ultrasound imaging and MRI are not usually required in these circumstances. If you are suffering with plantar heel pain or posterior heel pain and you ask yourself, what does a heel spur look like? – you can rest assured it will not be shaped much differently to the image below. However, it should be noted that heel spurs are not always the source of heel pain. More often than not the source of pain with a plantar heel spur is due to a condition known as plantar fasciitis.


Heel Spur


Similarly, the pain with posterior heel spurs is often due to insertional Achilles tendonitis, and therefore the question what does a heel spur look like is largely irrelevant. The podiatrists at the Heel Clinic focus on treatment of the soft tissue surrounding the heel spur and they worry less about the presence of the heel spur itself. The podiatrists focus specifically on the inflammatory change within the plantar fascia when treating plantar heal pain in association with plantar heel spurs. Treatment is to unload the plantar fascia and remove the strain from the connective tissue in order that the inflammatory change can be reversed. Plantar fasciitis is a reversible condition and with the correct support and treatment it will normalise within a number of weeks. Therefore the podiatrists often reassure patients that they do not need to worry or ask the question what does a heel spur look like, can I remove my heel spur, or will my heel spur ever disappear. If you are concerned about the presence of a plantar heel spur and you are wondering what to do next, of course you might proceed and engage your doctor to refer you for an x-ray and this will allow you to know whether or not the heel spur is present. Most patients suffering with heel spur syndrome / plantar fasciitis, will experience pain under the base of the heel that feels like a stone bruise. They will experience pain first thing in the morning when rising from bed.

X-RAY Image – What Does a Heel Spur Look Like?

Please refer to this following image with answers the question – what does a heel spur look like?

Heel Spur X-RAY


Around the back of the heel, the Achilles tendon attaches. Pain in this area as mentioned above is often due to the Achilles tendon itself and is less likely to be related to the posterior Heel spur. However, it should be noted that if the heel spur is large enough and protrudes deep enough into the Achilles tendon, it can be the source of symptoms. The Heel spur will reduce the elasticity within the Achilles Tendon which results in dysfunction of the Achilles. This will reduce the range of motion through the ankle joint and ultimately there will be an increase in the amount of stress and tension through the Achilles tendon. This will cause cellular change, inflammation and pain. In these extreme circumstances, surgical intervention is often the treatment of choice. The surgeon may also request an MRI in addition to x-ray, prior to surgery. This will answer the question – what does a heel spur look like, but it will also allow the surgeon to gain a greater understanding of the size and exact location of said spur. This procedure is known as surgical debridement and is often carried out in day surgery. The tendon is opened up using surgical instruments and the calcified sections of the spurs/tendon are scraped away. The patient will usually be discharged from the hospital on the same day and will walk out of hospital using post op shoes ir an immobilisation boot / shoe.

Students at the podiatry school, and the University of Western Sydney who are studying podiatry, will often type into a Google search box, what does a heel spur look like, and this understandably forms part of the research prior to examination papers. Students must gain an understanding of the size and shape of heel spurs if they are going to manage patients with this condition in the future. Hopefully, new graduates will gain a good understanding of the above information and will be able to relay to the patient that the heel spur is not always the source of the painful heel.

The information contained in this text is designed to help both patients and podiatrists alike. Hopefully, as a patient, if you were now to visit your podiatrist you would no longer need to ask the question – what does a heel spur look like, instead you would be able to discuss reliable treatment options with your podiatrist for conditions such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. Once again, please refer to the image above if you would like to know the answer to the question – what does a heel spur look like?

Article written by Karl Lockett