Garden State Foot & Ankle Center


Heel Pain

Patients and doctors frequently confuse the diagnoses of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. While these two diagnoses are different, they are oftentimes related.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is the term commonly used to describe arch and heel pain due to inflammation on the plantar aspect of the foot and heel. The plantar fascia is a piece of connective tissue that is partially responsible for holding and supporting the arch of the foot. This tissue stretches from where it begins in the heel bone and inserts into the base each of the toes. This inflammation is typically due to over pronation (flattening of the arch) from excessive activity, weight or poor shoe gear. As we walk, the foot rolls inward causing a lengthening of the foot and flattening of the arch. Over time, the tension from this causes increased inflammation in the heel and / or arch. If left untreated, this can result in the formation of a heel spur.

Heel Spur

Heel Spur is a term used to describe a hook of bone that is formed at the bottom of the heel where the plantar fascia is attached to the heel. These are typically found in patients who have not received treatment for their heel pain. Over time with repeated flattening of the arch and excessive pronation, the pull of the connective tissue promotes the excessive bone growth in the heel. With this growth comes inflammation and pain.

Heel Pain Treatment

In mild cases, the heel pain can be relieved with the proper stretching equipment, shoe evaluation / modification and anti-inflammatory medication. If pain continues, we explore other conservative methods of treatment including physical therapy, and custom molded orthotic management. In persistent cases, there are mild invasive procedures including Radiofrequency treatment, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment, ESWT (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy), EPF (Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy) and many other forms of treatment.


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