Friday, November 17th, 2017

Heel Spur or Plantar Fasciitis?

January 21, 2010 by apainintheheel  
Filed under Heel Pain - Plantar Fasciitis

Heel Spur or Plantar FasciitisExcruciating heel pain is usually caused by a number of things, and among those are plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Plenty of doctors and patients alike confuse the conditions heel spur and plantar fasciitis. While they are related to each other, the aren’t the same conditions. Around 70 percent of patients who have plantar fasciitis have heel spur. However, not all patients who have heel spur have symptoms of pain in heel or have plantar fasciitis. How plantar fasciitis and heel spur relates to each other is not know. What is known, however, is that while they are related to each other they are two completely different things.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis Anyway?

The plantar fascia is a fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. This broad, inelastic and thick band of tissue starts from the heel bone or the calcaneus and ends the metatarsal bones on the ball of the foot. This tight tissue band basically acts like a bowstring and holds together the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is then a condition that refers to the inflammation of these muscles. The inflammation is caused by an injury of the plantar fascia. Most typically, plantar fasciitis is caused – but not always so-by repeated trauma near the heel, where the muscle is attached to the calcaneus. Plantar fasciitis can occur in all age groups, however, it is mostly seen in middle aged men and women.

 What About a Heel Spur?

A heel spur, on the other hand, is a hook or focal point of bone that grows on the heel. This bone growth usually protrudes from the point as to where the plantar fascia attaches itself to a person’s heel bone. A heel spur is though to happen when the part of the plantar fascia attached to the heel bone or calcaneus tears away. When this happens, the outer layer of the bone is injured and can cause bleeding. This exposed area can then ossify and cause a heel spur. Basically, a heel spur does not cause plantar fasciitis condition, but can come along as a symptom of the condition. Heel spurs can occur in all ages as well, but is usually present in middle aged men and women.

 So, What’s The Difference?

Heel spurs can occur without any accompanying symptom of pain at all. So if a person has both plantar fasciitis and heel spur, there is a huge possibility that it is not the heel spur that causes pain but the constant irritation and inflammation of the plantar fascia. Home treatments for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are basically the same  such as ice packs, heel inserts, stretches and anti – inflammatory medication. It is best to remember though, that these treatments merely take away the pain caused by the condition. Since plantar fasciitis is usually the main cause of pain and not the heel spur, treating the spur (which is basically just a symptom of the pain) is not the solution to the problem at all.

Most patients with plantar fasciitis now respond positively to non – surgical treatments, but recovery time can be slow. While some treatments can work for one patient, it may not work for all. Thus, it is still always very important to get proper medical care for the plantar fasciitis condition.

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