Plantar Fasciitis vs. Heel Spurs: Understanding the Difference

Plantar Fasciitis | LaserLab Lake Mary

Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, often painful foot conditions, impact many people’s daily lives. While each of these conditions has distinct symptoms and causes, both can be effectively treated with our laser treatments. 

At LaserLab in Lake Mary, FL, we use the Summus laser to help heal and improve the symptoms of many chronic and acute pain conditions, including plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. This non-surgical, drug-free approach focuses on pain relief, tissue healing, and improved foot health, providing patients with a method to manage their symptoms effectively.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is characterized by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a dense tissue band spanning the foot’s underside, linking the heel to the toes. This inflammation typically leads to a piercing, stabbing pain in the heel. The condition is more prevalent in individuals who frequently run, are overweight, or wear inadequately supportive footwear, all of which can intensify the stress on the plantar fascia.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is primarily caused by repeated small tears or strains in the plantar fascia due to excessive stretching or tension. Factors contributing to these strains include excessive standing, weight gain, age-related loss of elasticity in the plantar fascia, and biomechanical issues such as flat feet or high arches. Regularly engaging in activities that put stress on the heel and attached tissue increases the risk of developing this condition.

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is an intense, sharp pain at the bottom of the foot, particularly near the heel. This pain often peaks in severity during the initial steps after waking up or following extended periods of inactivity. Movement may alleviate the discomfort somewhat, but it often returns after long periods of standing or getting up from a seated position. Additionally, some individuals with plantar fasciitis experience swelling around the heel.

What Is a Heel Spur?

A heel spur is essentially a build-up of calcium that forms a projection under the heel bone. These formations can be as long as half an inch and are typically identified through imaging techniques like X-rays. While not always causing pain, heel spurs can lead to discomfort in certain situations, influenced by their specific size, shape, and exact position under the heel.

What Causes Heel Spurs?

Heel spurs form as a response to strain, stretching, or tearing of the muscles and ligaments of the foot. Continuous pressure on the foot muscles and ligaments, as well as repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone, can be factors in their development. Activities such as running or jogging can contribute to the formation of heel spurs, especially in athletes or individuals with an active lifestyle.

Heel Spur Symptoms

Symptoms of heel spurs can include intermittent or chronic pain when walking, jogging, or running, as the spur digs into the soft tissue of the foot. While some individuals may not experience any symptoms, others may feel a sharp pain in the heel and, in some cases, there can be inflammation and swelling at the front of the heel.

Heel Spur vs. Plantar Fasciitis

Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are closely related foot conditions, often occurring together, yet they are distinct issues. The critical link between them lies in their common causes and symptoms. The strain and stress leading to plantar fasciitis can also contribute to the development of heel spurs. However, one does not directly cause the other; instead, they are co-occurring conditions that often stem from similar stressors on the foot.

Treating Pain Conditions With the Summus Laser

What Is a Class IV Laser?

A Class IV laser, such as the Summus laser, is a therapeutic tool used in plantar fasciitis treatment. It’s a higher-power laser that penetrates deeper into tissue, promoting accelerated healing and pain relief. This type of laser therapy is recognized for its effectiveness in reducing inflammation and enhancing tissue repair.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Summus Laser Treatments?

Ideal candidates for Summus Laser treatments are those suffering from pain due to conditions like plantar fasciitis or heel spurs and who are looking for a non-invasive, drug-free pain management option. It’s particularly suited for those seeking an alternative to traditional pain relief methods, seeking to avoid opioids, or who want to directly treat the root cause.

How Can the Summus Laser Treat Heel Pain?

The Summus Laser helps in plantar fasciitis therapies by emitting light energy that penetrates the affected area, promoting cellular repair and reducing inflammation. This process can alleviate the pain associated with plantar fasciitis and heel spurs and accelerate the healing of any torn or irritated tissues. It can also help increase blood flow to the area, which can further improve symptoms.

What to Expect From Your Treatment


The treatment at LaserLab begins with a consultation. This initial meeting focuses on understanding your specific condition and discussing the most suitable treatment approach, considering your health history and treatment goals.

Your First Treatment

During your first heel spur treatment session, Summus laser technology is employed to target the affected area, aiming to reduce pain and inflammation. This initial treatment sets the foundation for your healing process.

Number and Frequency of Treatments

The number and frequency of treatments for a heel spur vary depending on the individual’s condition and response to therapy. Typically, a series of sessions is recommended for optimal results, with the frequency adjusted based on your progress and feedback. Those with chronic pain may have a more long-term treatment plan, while those with acute pain may have a more intensive but shorter series of treatments. 

Your Treatment Experience

LaserLab offers a unique treatment experience featuring aromatherapy, soothing music, and relaxing waterfalls. Enjoy the benefits of our hydration Station, stim machines, and oxygen-infused rooms. Because relaxation and a lack of stress can help your body heal, all of these amenities have been chosen to increase the effects of your treatment.

Experience Alternative Pain Treatments With the Summus Laser

At LaserLab in Lake Mary, FL, we provide innovative treatments for plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain, focusing on pain relief and improved foot health. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please reach out online or call us at (407) 999-6625, and begin your path to relief today.

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