The Difference Between Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs
Posted on Jan 07, 2016

Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are both conditions that affect the feet and cause chronic pain in the heel and sole of the foot. Both conditions can cause issues with normal movement and can impede your ability to walk or run comfortably.


What is Plantar Fasciitis?

To understand plantar fasciitis, you have to understand the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thin band of tissue that connects the heel of the foot to the ball of the foot. Plantar fasciitis develops as a result of repeat stress, injury or overuse of the foot, which causes pain and inflammation to the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis is treatable, and pain associated with the condition can often be reduced through simple stretching and by resting the foot. In some severe cases, surgery or injections can be required to reduce pain.


What is a Heel Spur?

A heel spur is a calcium deposit or growth on the bone of the heel that develop where the muscles in the foot connect to the bone. A heel spur is basically a small, bony potrusion often looks like a hook pointing towards the toes and just like plantar fasciitis, is the result of extended periods of strain on the foot, as well as from prolonged stretching and inflammation of the plantar fascia. Treatment for heel spurs is quite similar to that of plantar fasciitis, in that rest and stretching can have a major impact in reducing pain and inflammation. According to WebMD, "more thn 90 percent of people get better with nonsurgical treatments" for heel spurs, but for the most severe cases, surgery can be required to reduce pain and bring movement back to normal. Surgery can include release of the plantar fascia and/or removal of the heel spur.


How Are Plantar fasciitis and Heel Spurs Similar?

Both plantar fasciitis and heel spurs present with more or less the same symptoms. They both present with pain directly underneath the heel, with pain getting worse over time. With both conditions, continuing to go about your daily activities with pain and without treatment can result in worsening of the condition of time. This is why rest and stretching is highly recommended for anyone dealing with either condition as a method of recovery and to prevent the condition from getting worse.


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