Achilles Tendonitis vs. Plantar Fasciitis: Which Do I Have?

Achilles Tendonitis vs. Plantar Fasciitis: Which Do I Have?

Pain in your heel or foot can make even the most simple tasks, like getting from the bedroom to the bathroom, a struggle. Two of the most common causes of this type of pain include Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, but it’s not always easy to tell which one is causing your symptoms.

The board-certified podiatrists at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers specialize in diagnosing and treating many types of ankle and foot conditions at our offices in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas — including Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. To help you better understand which one might be to blame for your pain, keep reading and learn what you need to know.

Could I have Achilles tendonitis?

Your Achilles tendon connects your heel bone to your calf muscle, and it plays an important role in helping you walk, run, jump, pivot, etc. These tendons are the longest and strongest in your body, making them tough enough to endure high loads of physical stress when you move.

Although it’s strong, you can develop Achilles tendonitis when the tendon gets overstressed or overused. The most common risk factors for the condition include:

You might have Achilles tendonitis if you have pain or achiness near the bottom of your leg, which may spread to your heel or calf. This pain usually worsens as the day progresses or after engaging in activity on your feet, like going up a flight of stairs. Your symptoms may feel worse after exercise, and in some cases you may notice a tender bump around your ankle. 

Could I have plantar fasciitis?

Your plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that extends from your heels to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. If you strain the plantar fascia, small tears develop that can trigger inflammation called plantar fasciitis, which causes the band of tissue to tighten when your feet are at rest.

While anyone can develop the condition, the risk of plantar fasciitis increases for people who:

You might have plantar fasciitis if you notice pain in your foot and/or heel when you take your first steps after resting, especially first thing in the morning. Plantar fasciitis can also cause stiffness in your heel or arches, and redness, swelling, or a sharp pain in your heel or foot. Being on your feet for extended periods can make your symptoms worse.

Are there treatments for both conditions?

Yes! However, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis have different treatments, making it especially important to schedule an evaluation with a foot health expert, like the team at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers. This ensures you get the right treatment for your condition so you can return to your normal activity levels. 

While you schedule your appointment, you can ease some of your discomfort by reducing your activity level and taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. You’ll also want to be sure to wear supportive shoes and avoid anything that makes your foot pain worse. 

Your Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers provider creates a personalized treatment plan. Our team begins with the most conservative options before recommending additional therapies to address your needs.

For patients diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis, your provider may recommend one or more of the following:

For patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, your provider may recommend one or more of the following:

For both Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, If your condition is severe or if it fails to respond to more conservative measures, your provider may recommend surgery to repair the tendon and get you back on your feet. 

Get the bottom of your heel pain by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone at the Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers office nearest you.

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