When Your Heel Pain is Not Plantar Fasciitis


Plantar fasciitis is the most common diagnosis of heel pain, responsible for about 70 percent of all reported cases of foot pain. Yet that leaves 30 percent of cases where heel pain generates from another source. Because plantar fasciitis is so common, other causes of heel pain are often overlooked, meaning that treatment is sometimes misdirected.

Other Sources of Heel Pain

The plantar fascia is a long fibrous ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes and provides support and shock absorption for your arch. Plantar fasciitis is essentially irritation and inflammation of the plantar fascia.

There are a number of other causes of heel pain besides plantar fasciitis, including a tear in the plantar fascia that may be easily confounded with or even co-exist with plantar fasciitis. Other common causes include:

• plantar fascia tear

• tarsal tunnel syndrome

• Baxter’s nerve entrapment

• calcaneal stress fracture

• calcaneal cysts

• soft tissue mass

• short flexor tendon tear

• gout

• systemic arthritis (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis)

Clearly, there exists a vast array of foot conditions which may at first exhibit as plantar fasciitis. Failure to correctly diagnose heel pain can lead to prolonged pain and dysfunction, despite efforts to treat it as plantar fasciitis.

Diagnosis of Heel Pain

Diagnostic ultrasound provides a useful and accurate technology for pinpointing the cause of heel pain. The technique enables clinicians to identify distinct structures within the area of pain such as muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. When used in conjunction with a thorough review of medical history and a clinical exam, diagnostic ultrasound can greatly improve the chances of making a correct diagnosis.

Seeking Treatment

When seeking treatment for heel pain, look for a rehab clinic that offers individualized therapy protocols based on sound diagnosis. Treatment for plantar fasciitis will differ from treatment for other heel pain issues. An important part of healing is correcting the source of heel pain. Once pain and inflammation have abated and healing is well underway, your therapist may prescribe a number of solutions, including:

  • gait analysis and retraining
  • stretching exercises
  • strengthening exercises
  • athletic taping
  • postural correction
  • shoe orthotics

A key thing to bear in mind is that eliminating the symptoms does not necessarily mean you have eradicated the underlying cause of your heel pain. Look for a foot pain specialist who treats the underlying source of your heel pain, not just the pain itself.

Foot Pain Specialists in NYC

Accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment are fundamental to resolving your heel pain. The foot pain specialists at NYDNRehab use diagnostic ultrasound and other advanced methods to correctly diagnose your heel pain. They then use cutting-edge technologies and proven strategies to rehabilitate your painful foot.

At NYDNRehab, we go beyond just treating your symptoms to resolving underlying issues. The sports medicine professionals at NYDNRehab can be counted on to give you a quick and accurate diagnosis followed by treatment protocols that eliminate the cause of your foot pain. Contact a consultation with the foot pain specialists at NYDNRehab today, and see why we are the very best rehab clinic for heel pain in NYC.



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