For most of us, one type of pain in our feet is the same as another.
Whether it is caused by one thing or another, whether it is treatable this way or that, all we know is that our foot hurts and we want it to stop.
Unfortunately, this approach is not enough if we really want to help ourselves.
Two of the most common causes of foot pain are heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.
This article will address the differences between the two, and by doing so will enable you to better identify and address any foot pain symptoms you may be suffering from.
How to tell the difference
The most important reason for being able to tell the difference between heel spurs and plantar fasciitis is that they require different methods of treatment.
That said, the task of telling them apart is actually pretty easy.
The main thing to consider when evaluating your foot pain is the exact location, or source, of that pain.
Plantar fasciitis can cause pain anywhere from your heel to the base of your toes, but for the most part the pain will be experienced in the arch of your foot.
Heel spurs, on the other hand, will always present pain in your heel.
The causes of plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are not only similar; they are, in fact, related.
Plantar fasciitis is caused when too much stress is put on the plantar fascia ligament, which connects your heel to your toes.
This stress will cause tearing to the ligament, which will result in pain along the base of your foot.
Heel spurs are actually caused by plantar fasciitis.
The spurs are calcium deposits that the body creates in an attempt to add support to the fascia.
These spurs can be sharp, and thus cause pain by rubbing against muscle and ligaments in your heel.
This is why pain location is so critical in identifying the actual condition.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are similar, but they are also different enough to be able to differentiate between.
As stated before, plantar fasciitis will present pain along the bottom of your foot, from your ankle to the base of your toes.
While trauma may cause the pain to be closer to the heel, common stresses that cause the condition will more commonly present pain in the arch of the foot.
This will cause a pain that feels like cramping.
Heel spurs will present a sharper pain, which makes sense as the heel spurs are sharp pieces cutting or poking tissue.
This pain is always felt in the heel.
Treating plantar fasciitis is more a matter of preventative action than anything else.
Reduce exercise activity to allow your feet to recover, and give your feet plenty of elevated rest during each day.
Treating plantar fasciitis in a timely manner will help prevent heel spurs from occurring.
Heel spurs are best treated by wearing footwear that provides sufficient support to your feet.
Special shoe inserts can be used to give existing shoes the support they lack.
Additionally, ice packs and massages will go a long way to treating both conditions, as these will reduce inflammation and help relax the foot.
Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are conditions that can cause long-term damage if not dealt with quickly and correctly.
The information above will help you to not only identify these conditions, but will also help you treat them effectively.
The main thing to remember is that these conditions are usually the result of asking too much of your feet.
Treat them as a warning, and give your feet the rest, care and support they need.