Differences between Heel spurs and Plantar fasciitis
While plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes and renowned for the pain they cause, a heel spur is a calcium deposit causing a hard, bony protrusion below the calcaneus (the heel bone) which are painless most of the time, but at other times, rather painful. Matter of fact, heel spurs, and plantar fasciitis are often associated together and sometimes mistaken for the other but most of the time, heel spurs develop from plantar fasciitis. The following will help you spot out the differences leading to a better management of whichever of the condition you may have.
Causes of heel spurs
Heel spurs take a long time to form, usually several months. The deposition of calcium is caused by strains on foot muscles, ligaments and repeated tearing of the heel bone's membrane, overuse of the Plantar fascia or Achilles tendon.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Mostly due to strain on the feet and involves wearing out and or inflammation of the plantar fascia.
- Running or jogging on hard surfaces repeatedly and excessively.
- Overweight and obessed conditions
- Abnormalities with gait and movement that places excessive strain on the heel bone and it's surrounding nerves.
- Poorly fitted shoes
- Excessive strain on the feet caused especially by standing for long hours.
- Flat feet structure
- Increasing age which erodes the protective pad in the heel
- Carrying heavier weight than you are accustomed to
Pain from heel spurs arise when the calcium deposits stab and pierce through the fatty pad in the feet which serves a protective function and if left untreated can lead to permanent damage to the feet. Therefore, if surgery is not an option for you, be sure to invest in several strain relief options so that you do not further cause injury to your feet.
Treatment for heel spurs:
- Orthotic products
If you run a lot or stand for long hours on hard surfaces, you should consider investing in good, quality, orthotic products such as insoles and sleeves.
Insoles placed inside your shoes will provide much needed cushioning for your heel.
The sleeves will make sure your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon is supported.
Both measures will help ease pain and provide comfort.
- Stretching Exercises and Physical therapy
Usually, after a night's sleep, when you attempt to walk, the plantar fascia suddenly elongates causing immense pain. Stretch exercises will help ease the pain and your physical therapist will help you find out just how much stretch is beneficial for you. Different types of stretch exercises exist. Examples include, calf muscle stretch, plantar fascia stretch and gastrocnemius exercise that helps increase range of motion.
- Aqua Jogging
This is a fancy name for water jogging. You can buy an inflatable pool and fill it up with water or fill water in your regular swimming pool to the extent that your feet do not touch the ground. Then jog in it. The water pressure will also help release the tightening in your muscles in addition to pain relief.
Surgery is an option for some people if regular treatment does not relief pain.
As WebMD points out, more than 90% of people get better with non-surgical procedures.
The surgery serves to:
- Remove spurs
- Release the plantar fascia
Treatment for plantar fasciitis:
Shoe insoles can correct the causes of heel and arch pain resulting from imbalances by providing cushion and support to the arch hence relieving tension on the plantar fascia. Using splints and taping the foot also go a long way in relieving pain.
- Ice compresses help reduce inflammation, subsequently reducing pain.
- Massage therapy may also be useful. Gently massage the area while the foot is being rested.
- Rest the muscle:
You might want to stop running for a while if you are a runner or take frequent breaks from standing to speed up healing.
In all, these two types of pain causing foot conditions are similar but also very different. Knowing the difference is key to deciding what method of treatment is best used in your case.