Is the Cause of My Severe Foot Pain Plantar Fasciitis or a Heel Spur?

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Heel pain that is at its worst in the morning is likely plantar fasciitis, while pain while walking or standing may be caused by heel spurs, advises WebMD. Heel spurs only cause pain in one in 20 people. It is possible for a person to have both plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.

Pain caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue in the heel, generally improves with walking and increases after exercise and periods of inactivity, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. A high arch and difficulty flexing the foot are common signs of plantar fasciitis.

Discomfort from heel spurs is most common in people with high arches or flat feet, advises WebMD. The spurs are bone growths caused by running, poor footwear or an abnormal gate.

Doctors diagnose heel pain by conducting a physical examination and determining when pain is greatest. X-rays may be used to diagnose bone spurs, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

In most cases, plantar fasciitis and heel spurs can be treated without surgery. Common treatment options include rest, stretches, ice, anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone injections, advises the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Treatment options for heel spurs include rest, properly fitted shoes and using a cut-out heel pad, states WebMD.