Apple Cider Vinegar for Heel Spurs

If you’ve been struggling with annoying heel spurs, apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy that may help. Read on to find out how! 

Can apple cider vinegar be used to treat heel spurs?

Apple cider vinegar has been used for a variety of purposes, from weight loss to hair care. Now it can be added to the list of apple cider vinegar uses as an effective treatment for heel spurs. 

The magnesium in apple cider vinegar helps bones absorb excess calcium, which is essential to bone strength. In addition, the acidity in apple cider vinegar decreases the pH level, which inhibits bacteria growth and destroys the tissue that could worsen conditions like plantar fasciitis or corns on your feet.

X-Ray showing a heel spur with the painful inflammation highlighted with a red glow

What are heel spurs? 

Heel spurs develop as bony growths on the back of the heel bone resulting in foot pain. They usually start due to chronic inflammation and pressure, which causes calcium deposits to grow from both sides of the heel spur until it forms an angle with your foot. 

As time goes by, this process can continue or stop depending on whether or not there is more irritation caused by any activities like walking up and down stairs.

Heel spurs don’t always cause pain, but they can if you have them in areas where tissue might be sensitive such as under toes when pressing down on tiptoe; around the arch area while sitting for long periods; or at the front edge near seams of shoes causing friction against the skin during use. 

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made from apple cider that has been fermented and then aged in wooden barrels. It is typically unfiltered, unpasteurized, and contains the “mother” of vinegar (a cloudy white substance).

Bottle of apple cider vinegar placed between two apples on a wooden surface

It’s often used to make dressings, sauces, or marinades for food such as salads. But it also has useful properties to help our general health. For example, it contains acetic acid, which has antibacterial properties that can help balance the pH levels in your body, relieve headaches and reduce inflammation from arthritis.

In fact, apple cider vinegar as a home remedy for common ailments dates back centuries.

What causes spurs on the heel bone?

Heel spurs are caused by having too much pressure on your feet. Your body will naturally protect the area where it is experiencing pain, leading to a heel spur. Nerve endings are compressed in the region of compression, causing chronic inflammation, leading to bone growth; these changes make walking painful as the back of your foot becomes more prominent.

Runner holding painful heel after running on a hard surface

Common causes of heel spurs are:

  1. Running (or standing for hours) on hard surfaces: Some studies show that people who walk or run for long distances can develop heel spurs. This type of activity often puts pressure in the same spot, which over time causes inflammation and bone spurs.
  2. Wearing bad shoes:  People who wear shoes that are the wrong size or don’t provide enough support can develop heel spurs. 
  3. Very high arches or flat feet: These conditions place extra stress on the foot muscles and ligaments, which can lead to heel spurs.

How to use apple cider vinegar for heel spurs

  • Soak one cup of cotton balls in water mixed with five tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol  
  • Place the cotton balls over your painful heel spurs and secure them with tape. 
  • Leave on for about 15 minutes, then replace as necessary to avoid irritation or breakouts.
  • Repeat twice a day until you see relief from symptoms of heel pain.
Treating a heel spur by wrapping the heel with an apple cider vinegar soaked towel

If you have chronic inflammation, you can use apple cider vinegar in conjunction with these remedies: 

Gently massage with essential oils such as coconut and olive oil 

Quick and instant relief can sometimes be achieved by applying an ice pack: wrap in a wet towel and place on the painful area

Apply heat to your foot using warm water or an electric heating pad.

Wear orthotics when possible

Try wearing cushioned shoes, such as Nike Free running shoes.

Sleep with feet elevated above the level of heart

Ice packs can be used to soothe the pain of heel spurs. It is best not to ice your foot for more than 20 minutes at a time, and it’s also important that you keep as much weight off of your feet as possible while icing them. This will help prevent any further damage from occurring in the area.

Use a heating pad. The best temperatures are usually at the medium or low heat settings, but it all depends on your personal preference and tolerance for warmth.

Epsom salts are a great natural treatment to help reduce inflammation and pain from heel spurs. In a small bowl, mix two cups of warm water with one cup of Epsom salt until the mixture becomes cloudy and soak your heel.

X-Ray of a foot showing a heel spur


It’s not a miracle cure, but apple cider vinegar is an inexpensive and easy option to try for your heel spurs. If you’re looking for something that will help with the pain of this condition without taking prescription medication or surgery, it may be worth giving ACV a shot!

By all means, do some more research on its effectiveness before using it as a treatment, but don’t let anything prevent you from trying what could potentially be helpful relief.