What is a heel spur? Your heel takes the brunt of your body’s weight with every step you take. Because of this, any issues with your heels could make walking difficult or even unbearable if pain is severe. One problem that can affect your heel is a heel spur. Heel spurs, or bone spurs (also called osteophytes), are small bulges or protrusions on your heel bone formed by calcium deposits. These deposits may build up if the ligament connected to your heel bone is constantly stretched and contracted, possibly causing small tears. Or, the ligament could tear away from the bone itself. Heel spurs are common and it’s estimated about 1 in 10 adults has a heel spur. Many people never realize they have one because heel spurs don’t always cause pain or pain may only be intermittent. If you feel pain in your heel and your doctor suspects heel spurs but there are no obvious bumps, you may be diagnosed with heel spur syndrome. Heel spurs are often associated with other foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the plantar fascia. This is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. About half of people with heel spurs have plantar fasciitis and some doctors use the term “heel spurs” instead of plantar fasciitis when speaking to their patients.