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Physical Therapy for Heel spurs – Information, Exercises, and More

Ouch, so you think you may have heel spurs.

Heel spurs are painful, and they can get in the way of your normal routine if you have discomfort while walking or exercising.

So, what’s the solution?

In this guide, you’ll learn all about heel spurs and your best treatment options.

What Are Heel Spurs?

A heel spur is a condition in which your heel bone develops a calcium deposit growth that can cause discomfort when you are walking or exercising.

What Causes Heel Spurs?

Heel spurs happen for many reasons.

Most commonly, a heel spur will develop when the muscles in your feet are constantly under strain.

Repetitive Exercise

Athletes who are constantly running or jumping put a lot of strain on their feet, and sometimes develop heel spurs.

If you are someone who likes to run long distances for fun, your physical therapist might suggest switching up your exercise routine occasionally.


People who are overweight or obese can also put extra strain on their feet when they walk and are more prone to foot issues like heel spurs.

If you are overweight, your doctor or therapist can suggest ways to exercise without putting too much pressure on your feet.

Improper Footwear

Shoes can make a big difference in the health of your feet.

If you’re an avid hiker, for instance, make sure to wear high quality, good fitting hiking shoes. Wearing the wrong shoes for certain activities can put extra strain on your feet and lead to heel spurs.

Consistently wearing high heeled shoes can also contribute to foot and ankle problems.

Heel Spurs Symptoms

There are many symptoms that can indicate heel spurs. To be sure if you have heel spurs, make sure to talk to your doctor.

Some common symptoms of a heel spur include:

  • Sharp pain in your heel – You might have a heel spur if you experience a sharp pain in your heel, especially when you first wake up in the morning.
  • A dull ache in your heel – Throughout the day as you use your feet, you might feel a dull ache in your heel.
  • Inflammation and swelling – Sometimes when you have a heel spur, there will be inflammation and swelling around your heel.

Heel Spurs Treatment

To determine the best treatment for your heel spurs, consult with your doctor or physical therapist. Here are a few of the most common treatments:

Ice Application

Sometimes icing your heel will help with the pain of a heel spur. This is not a long-term solution, but it can provide some relief from your symptoms.


If your physical therapist determines that your heel spurs were caused by an imbalance of weight on your feet, orthotics can sometimes remedy this.

For example, if one of your legs is longer than the other and it’s causing too much strain on one foot, you may be prescribed a special shoe that evens out the length of your legs.


Your doctor may prescribe medication to help with your pain caused by heel spurs. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or pain-killers can ease your discomfort.

Heel Spurs Physical Therapy – Will PT Help?

Heel spur physical therapy treatment may help the pain associated with your heel spurs.

A physical therapist can analyze your gait and find out what activities are causing your heel spurs. Most importantly, they will tell you what motions to avoid.

Sometimes, heel spurs are caused by imbalances in other parts of the body. This is called a biomechanical imbalance. If your foot and ankle don’t move together properly it can cause heel spurs and many other related ailments.

A professional therapist will be able to see what is causing the extra foot strain and help you implement a heel spur physical therapy protocol so that you can prevent it in the future.

Best Heel Spur Exercises

The best exercises will depend on why your feet are developing heel spurs.
If your heel spurs are caused by excess body weight, some low-impact exercises might help you to gain muscle and lose body fat.

However, if the spurs are being caused by a repetitive activity you are already doing, you will want to try and avoid that movement.

Your doctor or therapist will be able to diagnose the cause of your heel spurs and let you know which exercises are the best.

Take Pressure Off Your Feet

A professional therapist can tell you exactly which exercises you can perform to strengthen your body and help with your heel spurs.

In the meantime, try to take pressure off your feet. Rest your feet when possible.

Instead of running, try cycling. Riding a bike has a much lower impact on your feet than running and this change of activity might ease the discomfort of your heel spurs.

How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Heel Spurs

Heel spurs can cause significant pain and discomfort which can get in the way of everyday life. If you suspect you have heel spurs, call us at In Motion O.C.

We have helped hundreds of people get back on their feet with physical therapy.

Our reputation speaks for itself as we are currently the highest-ranked physical therapy office in the country on Yelp! Our therapists are knowledgeable, patient, and they make physical therapy just plain fun.

You don’t need to live with pain caused by your heel spurs, let In Motion O.C. help.

*This information about physical therapy for heel spur was reviewed by Dr Natalie Thomas, PT, DPT. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

In Motion O.C.