Plantar fasciitis or heel spurs may be the cause of your sore feet. Diagnosing and treating foot discomfort is crucial. What’s different? While they’re both common causes of heel and foot pain, there are key differences between heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.
Heel spur and plantar fasciitis are both common causes of heel pain, though the two conditions are different. Heel spurs usually cause sharp pain and pressure around the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis, on the other hand, causes lesser discomfort that may spread throughout the foot.
It’s important to note that heel spurs do not always cause pain. It is believed that this condition is caused by long-term microtraumas, such as frequent activity like running or jumping, which can cause an accumulation of calcium at the heel bone’s underside. In certain cases, plantar fasciitis can be associated with heel spurs due to their close anatomical relationship; however, these two conditions must not be confused with one another as they may have very different treatments. To gain an accurate diagnosis and plan for proper management of either condition, it is best to seek medical advice from a medical professional.
Because the symptoms and causes of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are different, so are the ways to treat them. Most of the time, doctors give patients with plantar fasciitis orthopedic treatments like stretching exercises, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy. On the other hand, people with heel spurs may be told to get minimally invasive surgeries like extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) or just rest their feet for a few days and do less.
Heel spurs, also called calcaneal spurs, are bony growths that form where the tendons that run along the bottom of the heel connect to the bone. They happen when repetitive strain or an impact causes the tissue to tear and become more tense.
Healthcare professionals can provide treatment options that are most likely to work by looking at biomechanical changes in people who have heel spur pain.
The plantar fascia tendon runs along the bottom of the foot and helps support the arch of the foot. It is made up of a strong, fibrous band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. When this tendon becomes inflamed or irritated, it can lead to pain in the foot and toe area. Walking or running, which put repetitive strain on the area, are examples of activities that can cause this. Biomechanically speaking, when the foot is overworked or hurt, it puts too much strain or tension on the foot. This can constrict the connective tissues around the tendon, inflaming or tearing it.
If a person has heel spurs, the right imaging methods, like an X-ray, should be used to find out what’s wrong. X-ray imaging will show the metal calcium along the calcaneus, which is the presence of a spur. On the other hand, if a person has plantar fasciitis, it should be found with ultrasound imaging or a professional diagnosis. In some cases, both heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can happen at the same time. To accurately diagnose both conditions, it is important to look at the full history of the patient.
Both conditions are treated in different ways. Both require rest and physical therapy, but plantar fasciitis is usually treated with drugs, while heel spurs are usually treated with surgery or cortisone shots. Also, people with plantar fasciitis are often told to wear night splints to stretch their calf and arch muscles while they sleep. On the other hand, heel spurs are structural issues that result from too much stress on the heel bone, so they typically don’t require night splints.
To correctly diagnose and treat someone’s condition, you need to know the difference between heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. Even though the symptoms of both are similar, there are many differences that need to be looked at to come to the right conclusion.
The causes of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can be divided into several categories, including structural issues and lifestyle risk factors. Structural issues include having a high arch, flat feet, or abnormal walking patterns, which can cause strain on the foot’s connective tissue. Other structural factors, such as an increase in body weight or age-related changes, can also lead to the development of heel spurs or plantar fasciitis. These include having a high arch, flat feet, or abnormal walking patterns, which can cause strain on the foot’s connective tissue. Other structural factors, such as an increase in body weight or age-related changes, can also lead to the development of heel spurs or plantar fasciitis. Lifestyle risk factors can include engaging in activities that involve frequent running or jumping, especially if done without wearing adequate supportive footwear. Additionally, people who are on their feet for long periods of time, such as healthcare workers, may be at increased risk of developing foot conditions such as heel spurs or plantar fasciitis.
Though many of the same factors have been linked to both heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, it is important to note that they do have some distinct differences. For example, although excessive body weight can be a contributing factor for both conditions, it is thought to play a more significant role in the development of heel spurs than it does with plantar fasciitis. On the other hand, it seems that high arches are more likely to cause plantar fasciitis than heel spurs. Also, having heel spurs, which are extra bone growths around the heel, does not mean that someone has plantar fasciitis. In fact, it may mean the opposite.
Because of these differences, it is always best to get a professional opinion from a doctor or physiotherapist before making assumptions about a person’s condition based on the information available.
The symptoms of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can vary, depending on the individual. In general, individuals with either condition may experience pain and discomfort in the heel area. Heel spurs often cause sharp pains when standing or walking and may require medical attention or immobilization to improve. On the other hand, plantar fasciitis can present as a dull ache or burning sensation in the heel, which typically eases with rest. Over time, the pain from plantar fasciitis may become worse when standing for a long period, resulting in more significant discomfort.
The best way to treat these conditions will depend on how bad the symptoms are and what’s causing them. For mild cases of heel spurs or plantar fasciitis, simple changes to your lifestyle, like wearing shoes that support the affected area and staying away from things that irritate it, can help. Stretching exercises may also be suggested to help ease pain and make the foot and lower leg muscles more flexible. Also, orthotic insoles are made to be worn in shoes to provide cushioning and support for the arch.
In more serious cases, anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections may be used to reduce swelling in the joint area of the foot or ankle. In rare cases of severe inflammation, a calcified heel spur or scar tissue caused by plantar fasciitis may need to be removed through surgery. Physical therapy is also often used to help the foot get back its strength and range of motion after an injury or surgery.
When it comes to treating heel spurs or plantar fasciitis, early intervention is key. Taking prompt action by seeing a doctor or physical therapist can allow for quicker healing and prevent further complications. Patients should discuss their treatment options with a healthcare provider before beginning any type of treatment plan to ensure it’s suitable for their individual needs. While neither condition is life-threatening if left untreated, it can lead to significant impairment over time if not properly managed.
If you are dealing with heel pain that you believe may be caused by heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, or Achilles Tendon, contact the expert podiatrists at Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute. We can help diagnose and treat your foot condition. Our podiatrists will also assess your lifestyle to see if modifications will help. Contact us at 801-756-4200 to schedule an appointment today.