10 Heel Spur Exercises To Try At Home

Heel spurs, also known as heel spurs osteophyteIt’s the extra bone that grows in you calcaneus (calcaneus). Heel spurs can be easily diagnosed with X-rays. Even though 1 in 10 people have a heel spur, only 5% of people with the condition experience pain. However, heel spurs can develop from other very painful conditions that put pressure on the heel bone, such as plantar fasciitis or arthritis.

Heel spurs can be painful to the touch and often cause pain when you step on the affected foot. Your heels may also be warm, red, and swollen. Exercise can increase flexibility in the soles of your feet and help reduce pain from bone spurs.

This article discusses exercises and other treatments for painful bone spurs.

Heel Spur Exercises

Exercise won’t make your heel spurs go away, but they can increase your flexibility plantar fascia (connective tissue that extends from the heel to the toes) and strengthens the muscles of the foot to reduce inflammation and pain.

  • Big toe stretch: Bring the affected leg over the other. Gently grasp the big toe with your thumb and index finger. Slowly pull up until you feel a stretch in the soles of your feet. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat.
  • Calf extension against the wall: Stand facing the wall. Put your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Step the injured foot back about 18 inches. Keeping your knees straight, keep your heels flat on the ground. Bend your front knee. Slowly lean forward onto your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf.
  • Squat calf extension against the wall: stand facing the wall. Put your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Step the injured foot back about 18 inches. Bend your knees slightly and place your back heels flat on the ground. Slowly lean forward onto your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf.
  • Calf extension on steps: Stand facing the stairs with the soles of your feet on the bottom steps. Keeping your knees straight, slowly lower your heels until you feel a stretch in your calves.
  • Seated calf stretch with a towel: Sit with your legs straight. Wrap the towel around the soles of your feet, holding one end of the towel in each hand. Slowly pull the towel toward you until you feel a stretch in the soles of your feet and calves.
  • Downward Dog Pedals: Start with your hands and knees, hands at shoulder level and knees at hip level. Push down through your palms and straighten your knees. One foot at a time. Bend one knee while pushing the heel of the other leg to stretch the calf. Alternate back and forth a few times.
  • Foam Calf Roll: Sit up straight with your legs straight in front of you. Place the roller on the painful side under the calf. Bend the other knee and place your feet on the ground with your hands on the ground behind you. Lift your hips off the ground by pushing down with your hands. Roll several times along the length of the calf.
  • Golf ball rolling: Sit on a chair and place the golf ball under your bare feet. Push down slowly to put pressure on the ball. Roll it from the ball of your foot to your heel for a few minutes. For further pain relief, place the golf ball in the refrigerator before rolling it onto your foot.
  • Grab a towel with your toes: Sit in a chair and spread a small towel on the floor in front of your feet. Place your heel on the closest end of the towel. Grab the towel with your toes and rub it toward you. Continue until you reach the other end of the towel. Repeat three times.
  • Plantar Flexion with Resistance Band: Sit up straight with your legs straight in front of you. Wrap the band around the balls of your feet, holding one end in each hand. Push your foot into the strap as you would the gas pedal. Repeat 10 times, working up to three sets in a row.
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Foot and Ankle Stretches for Warm-Ups and Heel Spurs

Other Treatments for Heel Spurs

In addition to exercise, there are several other ways to treat pain from heel spurs. These include:

  • Inserts: Insoles called orthotics provide support for your feet and relieve pressure from heel spurs. Inserts that elevate the heel slightly can significantly reduce heel pain when walking and standing.
  • Night Splint: Heel spurs caused by plantar fasciitis can cause heel pain first in the morning. When you first step on your foot, the structures on the bottom of your foot are stretched, causing pain. Night splints hold your ankle and foot in place, keeping these structures stretched while you sleep.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter medicines such as Aleve (naproxen), Advil (ibuprofen), and Bayer (aspirin) are commonly used to reduce pain and inflammation caused by bone spurs.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist will assess the underlying cause of the bone spur and provide specific treatment instructions. Your therapist can also recommend appropriate footwear based on your foot structure and activity.
  • Steroid injections: Cortisone is sometimes injected to treat inflammation and pain from bone spurs. However, you usually can’t have multiple injections in the same area, it will spread out over time – too much steroid medication can cause permanent damage to your plantar fascia.
  • Shockwave Therapy: in vitro Shockwave therapy (ESWT) is effective in treating plantar fasciitis, which is often accompanied by bone spurs.
  • Surgery: If conservative treatment is unsuccessful, the heel spur can be removed surgically.
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plantar fascia stretch foot pain


A calcaneal spur is a lump that grows in the calcaneus or extra bone on the calcaneus. Bone spurs don’t always cause pain, but they are often associated with other painful conditions, such as plantar fasciitis and arthritis. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help reduce symptoms of a heel spur. Other treatments include physical therapy, medication, and, in severe cases, surgery.

VigorTip words

The pain and inflammation from a heel spur can build up over time, eventually making daily activities difficult—or even impossible. Resolving your symptoms quickly will improve your chances of a full recovery. With proper treatment, the vast majority of people with heel spur pain recover without surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take for a heel spur to go away?

    Bone spurs don’t “go away” unless you have surgery. However, with proper treatment, the pain and inflammation caused by a heel spur can begin to improve within a few weeks.

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    Heel Spur Surgery: Everything You Need to Know

  • What happens if a heel spur is not treated?

    Pain from a heel spur can make it difficult for you to walk with the affected foot if you don’t seek treatment.

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    Heel Pain and Treatment Options

  • Is heat or ice better for heel spurs?

    Both heat and ice are beneficial for symptoms of heel spurs. Use heat to increase blood flow before stretching. Ice after activity to reduce heel pain.

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    Self-Care Tips for Foot Pain Relief at Home