What's the Difference Between Plantar Fasciitis and a Bruised Heel?

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Heel pain is a common problem affecting anyone regardless of age or activity level. But it can be difficult to know if you have plantar fasciitis or a bruised heel when you have heel pain or discomfort. Although they share similar symptoms, key differences can help you diagnose the source of your discomfort.

In this blog post, board-certified podiatric surgeon Dr. Suzanne Levine will explore the differences between plantar fasciitis and a simple bruise. Call Millennium Podiatry to speak with a qualified podiatrist in New York City, NY, to learn how we treat heel pain. We hope this information helps you in your quest for relief.

What is plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a tough band of connective tissue that extends from the base of your toes to your heel. It acts as a shock absorber to support the arch of your foot and helps you perform movements, like walking and running. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia becomes excessively swollen or inflamed, and it can cause a great deal of pain in the bottom of your foot and heel.

Pain from plantar fasciitis develops slowly over time and can feel dull or sharp. The discomfort is worse in the morning as you climb out of bed or if you’ve been sitting for long periods.

How does a bruised heel occur?

A bruised heel is exactly what it sounds like – when you step on something sharp or bump your heel, a bruise will form in the soft tissue beneath the skin. A bruise forms when tiny blood vessels called capillaries are injured, causing them to leak fluid into the surrounding tissue. A bruise will often appear as dark purple or bluish areas on the skin.

A bruised heel can feel rather painful and tender for several days or a few weeks based on the severity of the injury. Bruises often go away on their own with home remedies like rest and ice.

How do I tell the difference?

Plantar fasciitis and a bruised heel share many symptoms, including foot pain that makes it uncomfortable to walk. However, distinct differences between the two conditions can help you identify your injury.

A bruised heel is caused by a sudden impact on the foot, and pain is localized to the site of injury. A bruise is also more obvious when blue or purple discoloration is present. In contrast, plantar fasciitis is marked by severe, long-lasting pain that may not improve over time.

How does a podiatrist in New York help?

Foot pain that persists for several weeks and is associated with walking or standing may be a sign of plantar fasciitis. If you suffer from long-term heel pain, it’s important to seek treatment from a trained professional. A podiatrist, like Dr. Levine, will assess your foot and check for signs of tenderness or pain in the heel and foot's arch. We may also ask about your symptoms and how they affect your day-to-day activities before recommending treatment options.

Relieve pain from plantar fasciitis

All kinds of foot pain can impact your quality of life and make even simple tasks difficult. If you struggle with heel pain, contact Millennium Podiatry to schedule an appointment with an experienced podiatrist in New York City, NY. Board-certified podiatric surgeon Dr. Suzanne Levine will perform a thorough examination and develop an effective treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.