Plantar fasciitis and the calcaneal spur: Fact or fiction?

Foot Ankle Surg. 2012 Mar;18(1):39-41. doi: 10.1016/j.fas.2011.03.003. Epub 2011 Apr 13.


Background: Plantar fasciitis is a common diagnosis in patients presenting with heel pain. The presence of co-existing calcaneal spurs has often been reported but confusion exists as to whether it is a casual or significant association.

Methods: The lateral heel radiographs of nineteen patients with a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis and nineteen comparison subjects with a lateral ankle ligament sprain matched for age and sex, were reviewed independently by two observers. Objective measurements of calcaneal spur length and a subjective grading of spur size were recorded.

Results: There was a significantly higher prevalence of calcaneal spurs in the cases than the comparison group (89% versus 32%; McNemar chi-square=9.09, df=2, p=0.00257). There was good inter- and intra-observer agreement.

Conclusion: The current study has demonstrated a significant association between plantar fasciitis and calcaneal spur formation. Further research is warranted to assess whether the association is causal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / diagnostic imaging
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / epidemiology
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heel Spur / complications*
  • Heel Spur / diagnostic imaging
  • Heel Spur / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • ROC Curve
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology