Plantar Fasciitis vs Achilles Tendonitis

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The pain concentration you can experience from plantar fasciitis is on the foot’s underside and the heel. As with the pain associated with Achilles tendonitis, it is manifested in different foot areas, depending on the tendonitis type, except the foot’s underside.

The most common heel pain causes are plantar fasciitis vs Achilles tendonitis. However, what is the difference between the two conditions?

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Plantar fasciitis and Achilles both involve chronic foot pain and significantly impact someone’s quality of life. However, the biggest difference between the two conditions is the pain’s location.

In this article, we will help you know the difference between Plantar Fasciitis vs Achilles Tendonitis. You will discover each condition’s symptoms to help you determine which condition you are dealing with and understand the proper treatment.

Plantar Fasciitis: what is it?

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is caused by the chronically inflamed thick tissue that connects the human heel to the ball’s foot called the plantar fascia. This condition can be triggered by being obese, having a high foot arch, being flat-footed, or standing on hard surfaces for an extended period.

People with plantar fasciitis usually limp out of bed in the morning due to sharp pain. The day’s first few steps are typically the most painful since the plantar fascia is not used during sleep or stretched. When the tissue loosens, the pain subsides a bit.

If you want to know Plantar Fascia Release Technique, then read out this guide.

Plantar Fasciitis: what are the common causes?

Plantar fasciitis’s primary cause is strained or unsupported arches. This condition is triggered or aggravated by any of the following factors:

  • Prolonged use of footwear without the proper cushioning or arch support 
  • Standing on hard surfaces for long hours throughout the day 
  • Flat or high arches 
  • Running on uneven surfaces or without wearing proper foot support 
  • Long-distance running 
  • Chronic weight issue or sudden weight gain, which puts additional stress or strains on feet’s arches 

Plantar Fasciitis: what are the symptoms?

Aside from chronic foot pain first thing in the morning and improves a bit throughout the day after the plantar fascia is stretched out, here are other plantar fasciitis’ symptoms:

  • Aching arches and stiffness in the heel 
  • Redness and swelling along the heel and arch 
  • Sharp pain in the heel and plantar fascia

Plantar Fasciitis: how is it diagnosed?

The doctor carefully examines the arch and heel to diagnose plantar fasciitis. The doctor may also take x-rays.

Furthermore, if the area between the ball of the foot and the heel appears thicker than usual and inflamed or if the x-rays reveal calcium deposits developed in response to the plantar fascia and heel inflammation called bone spurs, a plantar fasciitis diagnosis will likely be conducted.

Plantar Fasciitis: what is the treatment? (Plantar Fasciitis vs Achilles Tendonitis)

Plantar fasciitis treatment is most effective when you use a holistic approach to support the arches and heels and reduce inflammation.

Here are several ways to treat plantar fasciitis and make your days pain-free:

  • Gentle regular stretching 
  • Anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by the doctor, like ibuprofen, to manage foot pain 
  • Dietary changes, like adding particular supplements and avoiding inflammatory foods 
  • Wearing shoes that support the plantar fascia and heel 
  • Daily use of heel seats or orthotics 
  • Regular icing of the plantar fascia and heel 

If you want to learn more about stretching, feel free to read our post about plantar fasciitis stretches.

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Achilles Tendonitis: what is it?

Achilles tendonitis occurs due to strain on the tissue connecting the human calf muscles to the heel bone, “Achilles tendon.” If there is a strain on this tendon, it may be because of a sudden duration or intensity of exercise.

As people start to age, this tendon naturally weakens. This condition is common in older adults involved in any sports type. 

Heel pain caused by Achilles tendonitis can be challenging to live with. That is because the Achilles tendon has pivotal role in the movement. It is used during standing on the ball of the foot, walking, jumping, or walking. 

The pain associated with Achilles tendonitis focuses on different parts of the foot – the back, top, side, and front of the foot, except for the plantar fascia. The condition can occur due to improper footwear or injury.

Achilles: what are the common causes? 

The Achilles tendon happens to be the strongest and strongest in the body, making it tough enough to ensure high physical stress loads with every move. 

However, even if this tendon is strong, you can still develop Achilles tendonitis when it gets overused or overstressed. Here are the common causes of this condition:

  • Having overpronated feet, high arches, or flat feet 
  • Having very tight or weak calves 
  • Running or jumping on uneven or hard surfaces 
  • Doing excessive physical activities 
  • Wearing the wrong footwear type 
  • A sudden increase in the duration or intensity of exercise 
  • Not doing warm-ups before exercise 
  • Being over 30 
  • Being overweight 

Achilles Tendonitis: what are the symptoms?

If you are dealing with Achilles tendonitis, you will feel the worst foot pain at the beginning of your day. Then it starts to ramp up with increased physical activity.

Here are the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis:

  • Stiffness in the ankle and foot 
  • Swelling and redness 
  • Increased activity level results in worse pain 
  • A soft, painful lump at the tendon

Achilles Tendonitis: how is it diagnosed?

The doctor conducts a physical examination of the foot and may be MRI to determine if any tearing has occurred on the tendons in the foot.

Achilles Tendonitis: what is the treatment? (Plantar Fasciitis vs Achilles Tendonitis)

Achilles tendonitis treatment focuses on addressing the cause and dealing with the symptoms.

Below are different ways to treat Achilles tendonitis:

  • Strengthening the muscles in the calves and feet 
  • Regular icing 
  • Enough rest 
  • Taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers 
  • Supportive footwear and orthotics 

Conclusion 

Most plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis cases can be treated with home remedies, such as decreasing activities that cause them pain, over-the-counter pain relievers, icing the affected area, stretching, and wearing supporting shoes. 

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If you are an athlete and confused about which footwear you should buy for your plantar fasciitis, you can check out our top picks for the best running shoes for athletes.

However, if the pain continues, do not hesitate to seek professional help to prevent further issues.

Hopefully, after reading this post, you can differentiate the difference between the two and determine which heel pain you are experiencing. That way, you will know how you can deal with it properly. 

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