Heel Pain isn’t always ‘Plantar Fasciitis’

So you’ve got heel pain and you’ve gone to Dr Google to find out why your heel is sore and the term ‘plantar fasciitis’ has flashed passed your eyes a million times. You’ve decided to investigate further and see what ‘plantar fasciitis’ is. You’re now convinced that is your diagnosis. And why shouldn’t you be!

One out of every ten people across their lifetime will experience ‘plantar fasciitis’. Before we go into more depth, let’s clarify the term ‘plantar fasciitis’…

Plantar fasciitis is the most popular term to describe a condition of the plantar fascia. Whilst it’s popular it’s not necessarily correct. Plantar fasciitis is the term used to describe pain, heat and swelling in the heel or arch of the foot and is caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia. However, we know that fascia has a poor blood supply and there is often little inflammation when people present with ‘plantar fasciitis’.

In conjunction, a more accurate term for most people would be ‘plantar fasciosis’. Plantar fasciosis is a term used to describe heel pain caused by the degeneration (deterioration) of the plantar fascia and is associated with chronic and repetitive stress being applied to the plantar fascia.

A person can bounce between the two conditions in a vicious cycle of inflammation followed by deterioration of the plantar fascia. Which leads us to our third term… ‘plantar fasciopathy’, which describes any pain and condition of the plantar fascia.

Got it?

Now with that being said heel pain does not necessarily mean that you have any of the three conditions described above.

Depending on your symptoms you may even have one of the following conditions:

  • Fat Pad Atrophy (heel padding wearing out)
  • Calcaneal Fractures
  • Nerve Entrapments: This can account for up to 20% of people who come into the clinic. It’s often misdiagnosed and treated as a plantar fasciopathy.
Some quick signs and symptoms of it being a nerve entrapment are:
  • No first step pain in the morning, but pain progressively getting worse throughout the day.
  • Pain that radiates throughout your foot.
  • Inability to wiggle or move your little toe outwards.

Before self-diagnosing, you should see a Podiatrist or health professional who can give you some clarity and point you in the right direction. The moral of the story… your heel pain isn’t necessarily ‘plantar fasciitis’!!

If you have any questions, our team at Boost would be more than happy to answer them and we’d love to help!

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