Any kind of heel pain isn’t fun and have great, negative impacts on one’s daily life. Walking, even standing or sitting with the feet on the ground can border on being unbearable. As with any kind of pain, you want to quickly find the cause and remedy it as soon as possible.
There are many causes of heel pain. Two of the most common causes of heel pain are heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. The pain with these two foot issues include pin-or knife-like sharp pain in the morning that dissipates into a dull, nagging pain for the rest of the day.
While not all heel spurs are painful, sometimes the pain can be confused with that of plantar fasciitis. These and the straining of the plantar fascia can trigger each other, have similar pain and causes, risk factors and treatments.
Heel spurs are the result of calcium deposits that form on the underside of the heel bone. This calcium deposit usually occurs over the course of many months. Strains of the foot muscles and ligaments and the repetitive tearing of the heel bone membrane can lead to the build up of character. These bone spurs are often clearly visible on an x-ray.
Athletes are vulnerable to getting heel spurs, especially those who do a lot of jumping and running. Poorly fitting shoes, excessive weight, an abnormal gait, having flat feet, diabetes and spending many hours a day on one’s feet are other things that will increase the risk of this form of foot issue.
Heel spurs can be treated through exercise, orthotics, cortisone injections and anti-inflammatory medications. In extreme cases when none of the other treatment options are effective, surgery may be recommended.
Similar to heel spurs in symptoms and risks are those of plantar fasciitis. While these are caused by a calcium deposit on the heel bone, this condition is caused by the tearing of the plantar fascia issue. The plantar fascia is a fibrous band that connects the ball of the foot and the heel. This band runs along the bottom of the foot.
Similar to the pain associated with heel spurs, the pain of this condition typically starts off as a sharp, stabbing pain once one first stands on the feet in the morning. During the course of the day, the pain typically subsides to a dull, persistent pain.
People who stay on their feet for many hours, wear poor-fitting, unsupportive shoes and who regularly participate in physical activities such as running, jumping or sudden sprinting and stopping are at the greatest risks of getting plantar fasciitis.
There are a variety of treatment options for plantar fasciitis including anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, physical therapy, shock-wave therapy and surgery for the worst cases.
It is really easy to confuse these two foot ailments as they have similar pain, causes, risks and treatments. However, heel spur pain is often centered only around the heel while the other foot condition pain can occur along the arch of the foot as well as the heel. This pain pattern often indicates the fact that it is more common for people with plantar fasciitis tend to also develop spurs. Very rarely do those with heel calcuim build up develop plantar fasciitis.
Regardless of whether you have heel pain from a heel spur or plantar fasciitis, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your podiatrist to go over the best treatment option.