Top 3 Differences Between Plantar Fasciitis And Heel Stress Fracture 

Most types of heel pain are a common part of our lives, they suddenly appear and then vanish away gradually. 

However, there are some kinds of heel pains that last long and cause unbearable inflammation sometimes. 

Most of the time their causes are only two conditions called Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Stress Fracture! 

When patients suffer from one of these ailments, they get confused about whether they have plantar fasciitis or stress fracture since many factors make people think they are the same thing.  

But this doesn’t mean you can’t differentiate them! Because some clues help you identify the condition. 

So if you are suffering from severe heel pain then this article is for you since here are the 3 biggest differences between plantar fasciitis and heel stress fracture. 

So that you can easily get rid of the sharp pain and walk freely! 

What Is Plantar Fasciitis? 

Most of the people reading this article may have come across both of these conditions for the first time, therefore here’s some brief information about them! 

Plantar fasciitis is an annoying condition of heels in which a thick tissue band located in your heel, gets inflamed due to repetitive trauma.

The continuous pressure on this ligament develops some small tears and wear which leads to plantar fasciitis.  

What Is Heel Stress Fracture? 

A stress fracture is another painful condition of heels just like plantar fasciitis. It is also caused by repetitive pressure on the foot and it’s common in runners and athletes. 

However, this condition doesn’t affect your ligament. instead, in this condition, a very small crack or fissure is developed on your heel or foot bone which causes stress fracture. 

3 Things That Make These Conditions Dissimilar!

1. The Root Of Their Causes

Both of these conditions are indeed caused by continuous pressure on the feet but there are other causes too! 

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis include: 

  • Obesity 
  • Sudden weight gain, pregnancy increases the chances of plantar fasciitis 
  • Performing intense exercise for long periods 

Causes of Heel Stress Fracture Include: 

  • Osteoporosis or having weakened bones can increase the risk of a stress fracture 
  • Not providing enough rest to your feet after workouts 
  • Walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces 
  • Foot injuries 

2. Their Signs And Symptoms

Symptoms of these two conditions are one of those things that can help you differentiate between them since the only similar symptom they share is intense pain in the feet or heel. 

Symptoms of Plantar fasciitis: 

  • The easiest way to identify plantar fasciitis is morning pain. Because during this condition patients face tremendous pain when they take the first step of their day. 
  • This pain decreases throughout the day but may come back after staying in the same position for long periods. 
  • Constant pain, redness, or swelling on the heel 

Symptoms of Heel stress fracture: 

  • Sharp or pinpoint pain 
  • Constant pain that doesn’t go away 
  • Pain that is present even after some kind of activity, you may feel pain while you rest as well 
  • Being unable to stand with the affected foot 

3. The Area Of Foot They Affect 

Both of these conditions indeed affect your heel but they target the different areas of the heel! 

Areas Affected By Plantar Fasciitis: 

Plantar fasciitis normally targets the bottom of the heel or, in some cases, the bottom of the mid-foot. 

Areas Affected By Stress Fracture: 

A stress fracture can affect any of your bones available in the lower extremity, however, if you are feeling pain in the heal then a small crack has probably developed in your heel bone (calcaneus bone).

How To Treat Plantar Fasciitis At Home? 

Conservative therapy options can relieve inflammation and improve foot support in almost all cases of plantar fasciitis. The following are examples of standard treatments: 

  • Applying a cold compress to the heel and plantar fascia can help.
  • Wearing a shoe that fits properly and supports your toes, heel, and fascia.
  • Using orthotics such as heel seats regularly
  • Weight loss is also essential 
  • Dietary changes can also help, avoid inflammatory foods 
  • Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory medications are routinely used to treat pain.  

How To Treat Heel Stress Fracture? 

Unlike plantar fasciitis, heel stress is a type of fracture so if the pain doesn’t stop even after home remedies you may need to opt for medical treatment.

For that, you can check out the best treatment on bvfootclinic.

However, if you still want to try home remedies then here are some of them: 

  • Stop the activity that is causing the discomfort and eliminate the source of the pain. 
  • Icing or rubbing the damaged region with ice cubes 10 minutes twice a day. 
  • Rest for two to eight weeks.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications are used to treat pain and swelling. 
  • Footwear that alleviates foot or leg stress 

How To Prevent Future Plantar Fasciitis? 

  • Maintain a healthy weight 
  • Avoid putting too much pressure on your heel 
  • Stretch properly before starting an exercise 

How To Prevent Future Heel Stress Fractures? 

  • Stop exercising once you feel pain. If you are pain-free, you can resume exercising.
  • If you have a persistent region of worry or discomfort, see your doctor as soon as possible. 
  • Make sure you warm-up and cool down properly before engaging in any activities.
  • Strength exercise can help you avoid early muscular fatigue and the loss of bone density that comes with getting older.
  • Maintain a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong.
  • Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen or accepting a job that requires more physical activity than you are accustomed to.


Heel stress fracture and plantar fasciitis may seem so similar but some major differences can help you differentiate between them. 

The root of their causes, the area they affect, and their symptoms are three factors that can help differentiate between them. 

So next time you feel pain in your feel, look for these three things! 

You can follow the preventive tips given above to protect yourself from future heel injuries and keep them away.