The foot is one of the most complicated parts on the body. It is frequently used and subjected to a lifetime of wear and tear. When foot pain occurs, the cause can be any number of different injuries, but when it comes to pain underneath the foot, there are two common ailments that are responsible - plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. Although occasionally used interchangeably to describe under foot or heel pain, plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are two very different conditions.
What's the Difference?
Plantar fasciitis is caused by a tear to the plantar fascia ligament. This strong ligament connects the heel to the toe and stretches with each step an athlete takes, accommodating the weight of the body. However, after an increase in activity, sudden weight gain, or trauma to the foot, the ligament can tear and become irritated. Plantar fasciitis pain is most easily recognized in the morning when it is at its worst. At night, the ligament suddenly elongates as you sleep, stretching and causing pain. As you walk and most around, the pain may decrease, but athletes can be sure that it will be back without treatment. For particularly deep ligament tears, the underside of the foot may swell and be tender to the touch.
Heel spurs are exactly as their name suggests. A heel spur is a calcium deposit on the underside of the heel bones which causes a painful looking spur to extend forward. Heel spurs can often grow as large as a half-inch. Although heel spurs are not often painful, the pain is constant and worse when putting pressure on the heel opposed to the pain of plantar fasciitis.
What Causes the Pain?
While a bone-like protrusion into the soft tissue of the foot may sound infinitely more painful than a tear to a simple ligament, often heel spurs are actually painless. The heel pain that many athletes often feel and associate with heel spurs is actually caused by the inflammation of plantar fasciitis. As the plantar fascia runs the entire underside of the foot, pain and inflammation can strike anywhere, but most commonly, tears occur closer to the heel than the toes.
Why the Confusion?
As two very different ailments, why is there so much confusion between them? The simple answer is how the pain is diagnosed. Most athletes that suffer from foot pain will see a general practitioner before visiting anyone else. In order to find the cause of the injury, many doctors will first order an X-ray to make sure that the cause is not from a fracture or break in the foot bones. Understandably, a half-inch spur on the heel stands out more than a torn ligament in an X-ray, and they became easy targets to blame for foot pain.
Although plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are two different ailments, they are often treated the same ways. The key is taking pressure off the inflamed area to allow it to naturally heal.
It is worth noting that for chronic heel spur pain, surgery may be required. However, plantar fasciitis thrives under non-surgical options.
PFTape® Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief System
PFTape® Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief System provides great relief for painful Plantar Fasciitis symptoms. It helps relieve morning heel pain and provides therapeutic support on the foot. PFTape® is not basic athletic or kinesiology tape, it is more sturdy to give you the support you need.
To help relieve the pain of Plantar Fasciitis, Mueller® Sports Medicine created the PFTape®, which allows people with the condition to stay active. Now pro athletes, weekend warriors, and active people alike can benefit from the pain relief offered by PFTape. This tape is intended for immediate support during active hours, provides hours of durable support and is easy to self-apply. PFTape fits comfortably in any shoe and gives you a normal healthy range of motion unlike its competitors.
PFTape is made to handle an everyday active lifestyle without stretching, slipping, or losing its effectiveness. No other treatments come close to PFTape when it comes to results and value.