Difference between Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an intense ligament disorder in the connective tissue called the plantar fascia. This tissue supports the foot arch. This plantar fasciitis creates pain in the bottom of the foot and also the heels. If left untreated, it can lead to a heel spur in some people. Standing for a long period of time, an inward rolling of the foot and obesity are some common causes for this disorder.

Also see: Difference between Tendons and Ligaments

Heel Spurs

Heel spur is an outgrowth of bone from the heel. It is also called the calcaneal spur (the word calcaneum means heel). Here, the calcium gets deposited in the foot due to constant stress. The deposit piles up to form a spur-shaped deformity. They usually develop at the bone joints.

It is often observed as a stress injury. Sometimes, plantar fasciitis can also lead to heel spurs.

Difference between Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis

Foot and Ankle

Heel Spur

Plantar Fasciitis

Heel spur is a bony outgrowth in the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation in the foot ligament.
It is due to the piling up of calcium deposits. Standing for a long period of time, an inward rolling of the foot, and even obesity can trigger this.
There is a jabbing pain in the heel. The pain is mostly felt in the arch of the foot and heel.
The role of heel spurs causing plantar fasciitis is not yet clear. People with plantar fasciitis can also develop heel spurs.

Extended Reading: Disorders of Bones

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis

How to diagnose heel spurs and plantar fasciitis?

Diagnosis of both heel spurs and plantar fasciitis involves imaging techniques like MRIs, ultrasound and x-rays. Sometimes, plantar fasciitis can also be diagnosed through physical examination. Also, the initial treatment for both includes lifestyle modification.

What is the Achilles tendon?

It is the thickest tendon found in the lower leg. It attaches the plantaris, soleus muscles and gastrocnemius to the heel bone. It is also called the calcaneal tendon or heel cord. The tightness of the Achilles tendon acts as a risk factor for plantar fasciitis.

Also Read: Osteoarthritis

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