Plantar Fasciitis Versus Tendonitis

Plantar Fasciitis versus Tendonitis?

Body Awareness Is Key For Endurance Sports

Aside: Tendonitis versus Tendinitis

Is it plantar fasciosis versus tendonosis?

Plantar fasciitis distribution

FitOldDog’s Plantar Fasciitis Distribution Map; click image for link to original post for details.

Question on FaceBook, at

 FitOldDog’s Dynamic Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Page:

“One of the first paragraphs of your book, you said to make sure I had plantar fasciitis and not tendinitis, but I’m unsure how to do this, can you help?” Doug Crow

The Short Answer, But It’s Not That Simple

Tendonitis: Tearing, Stinging, Aching (chronic)

Plantar Fasciitis: Burning, Stabbing

Good question, Doug, as the treatments are different. Though, there is overlap.

Diagnosing plantar fasciitis versus tendonitis is critical for treatment success.

“Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon — any one of the thick fibrous cords that attaches muscle to bone.” Mayo Clinic

plantar fasciitis versus tendinitis: flexor hallucis longus tendinitis

Flexor hallucis longus tendonitis pain – as an example. I have this issue, if I overload that region of my left calf.

Tendonitis, in my experience, results in sharp pain, somewhere along the length of the tendon OR as referred pain near the point of insertion on the tendon on bone, at either end of the tendon.

I have a frequent problem with tension in my flexor hallucis longus muscle/tendon, that inserts near my big toe, on my left foot. I will feel either/or pain in the tendon in my calf or foot, or referred pain on the inside of my big toe.

This tendonitis pain feels different to plantar fasciitis pain, which, for me, has more of a burning component.

Tendonitis pain induction: I can induce tendon pain by putting pressure, somewhere along the length of the affected muscle (that is yanking on the tendon). After inducing the pain, for diagnosis, it persists as stinging for a little while – I pissed it off!

Understanding and curing plantar fasciitisPlantar fasciitis pain induction: I can do this simply by sitting on my hamstrings, for a few minutes. The pain is clearly referred from somewhere further up my leg, from calves to hamstrings to hips. A simple hamstring or hip stretch will cause the pain to disappear, as if by magic.

Tendonitis pain personality: A strained tendon will feel strained. It’s a kind of tearing feeling, along the length of the tendon – which is often what is going on. For the referred pain component, as near my big toe, above, the pain is similar to plantar fasciitis in the heel, but it is more of a stinging (rather than burning) pain. I can induce this pain by putting lateral tension on the affected tendon, or pressure on the related muscle – it takes practice to master this, so be patient (and take notes). Chronic tendonitis turns into an aching feeling (have that in my shoulder, in spite of the bottle of beer, thrown from a passing truck).

Plantar fasciitis pain personality: Plantar fasciitis produces two distinct types of pain. Stabbing in the heel, especially first thing in the morning, or burning in the heel, or elsewhere on the map at the top of this post. Burning can be deep, but it is generally superficial, almost as though it’s in my skin. We have a lot to learn about the art and science of plantar fasciitis.

As much art as science.

Treatment And Loading?

Plantar fasciitis versus tendonitis Swedish study of calf loading for plantar fasciitis on our map. Top right.

You’ll find the Swedish study of calf loading for plantar fasciitis on our interactive plantar fasciitis treatment map. Top right.

Tendonitis treatment: Be careful. You could damage the tendon further. The advice online is generally good, including rest, ice and the like. More importantly, work out why you strained the tendon, and fix that, once the tendon is safe to work with. Watch what strains it, and don’t do that. Often a really tight muscle will trigger it, so go there and work to loosen up (lengthen) that muscle. I use massage with my thumb and rollers for my flexor hallucis longus issue. Works a treat!

REMEMBER – you are not doing something to your body, you are having a conversation with your body (plus, you are your body!!!).

Plantar fasciitis treatment: You’ve read our book, Doug, so you know our take on that. Your choices lie in this graph and in our inter-active map, but the real trick is to change the way you move.

Bottom line for both: Improve your body movement skills.

The big plantar fasciitis versus tendonitis treatment difference!

Plantar fasciitis responds to carefully applied load, as demonstrated by the Swedish studyand recommended in our first book (step 5). However, take care as you apply this load to weak arch machinery – make changes slowly.

Loading an inflamed, possibly torn tendon, will make things worse. Maybe MUCH WORSE

plantar fasciitis research

Give us a break – cortisone injections. Platelet injections. Blood injections. Why not use bloodletting? Plantar fasciitis research requires thought and a changed mindset – not easy for the Medical Leviathan. Sorry for the rant – just look at that MRSA foot, and you’ll understand why I get so heated about this!

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Wishing you happy feet and happy trails,



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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.