The effectiveness of raising the heel height of shoes to reduce heel pain in patients with calcaneal spurs

J Phys Ther Sci. 2017 Dec;29(12):2068-2074. doi: 10.1589/jpts.29.2068. Epub 2017 Dec 7.


[Purpose] To investigate the effect of heel height on the distribution of plantar foot force and heel pain in patients with a heel spur. [Subjects and Methods] Plantar force was measured using 8 force sensors in 16 patients (3 men, 13 women), with symptomatic heel spur for 4 heel heights (0-4 cm). Sensors were located at the hallux (T1); medial to lateral metatarsals (M1 through M3), mid-foot (MF); and at the central, lateral, and medial heel (CH, LH, and MH). Pain was evaluated using the minimum compression force that caused pain and was measured using an algometer. [Results] Load bearing shifted from the heel (CH) to the mid-foot (MF) and hallux (T1) with increasing heel height. Raising the heel from 2 to 3 cm reduced the magnitude of load bearing, relative to the minimum compression force for pain, by 3.70% at the LH and 2.35% at the MH. Excellent clinical outcomes, defined by a 70-100% decrease in pain, were achieved in 10/16 participants with the use of a 2-cm and 3-cm heel height in men and women, respectively. [Conclusion] Increasing heel height effectively decreases the plantar force on the heel during weight-bearing activities.

Keywords: Algometer; Calcaneal spur; Heel height shoe.