Are Heel Spurs And Plantar Fasciitis The Same Thing?
Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are two different conditions that often get jumbled together. The truth is that plantar fasciitis can lead to heel spurs, but these conditions are not the same. Heel spurs develop from calcium deposits that accumulate at the heel of the foot. These deposits become painful bone spurs. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia, a nerve located at the bottom of the foot, becomes inflamed. Do these conditions require foot surgery?
How will I know if I need surgery?
Before recommending surgery, doctors will most likely suggest some non-invasive measures like ice therapy, shoe inserts, or physical therapy. If these treatments do not work, then surgery could be the next option. Doctors can either opt to perform surgery on the plantar fascia or remove the heel spur. Now, doctors rarely remove heel spurs unless the spur is causing the patient severe pain. If doctors perform surgery, technology has made minimally invasive procedures more common. Surgeons will make a few small incisions and use an endoscope to remove the growth.
What causes heel spurs or plantar fasciitis?
Usually, heel spurs are caused by physical activity that puts excessive force on the heels of the foot like running, jogging, or difficulty walking. However, other issues like obesity or poorly fitted shoes can also lead to the development of heel spurs. Plantar fasciitis can also result from obesity and increased physical activity. Other reasons for plantar fasciitis include:
- A naturally occurring high arch in the foot
- Tight Achilles tendons
- Flat feet
- Wearing high heels frequently
- Standing on the feet for hours per day
- Being between 40 -60 years old
Diagnosing foot conditions
To diagnose a patient with heel spurs or plantar fasciitis, doctors must first perform diagnostic tests. The provider will order x-rays and MRIs of the foot to see any abnormal growths or fractures that could be the cause of foot pain.
What is plantar fascia release?
Plantar fascia release is a surgical procedure that requires doctors to cut a portion of the plantar fascia and shave down the bone near the ligament to promote healing. Sometimes, doctors also remove heel spurs during this surgery. Doctors either perform open surgery, which requires a large incision or endoscopic surgery, which is less invasive.
Should I talk to my doctor about surgery?
Patients experiencing foot pain should speak to a healthcare provider to learn more about heel spurs and receive a proper diagnosis. A healthcare provider will be able to refer the patient to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss surgery if that is a logical next step.