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Plantar Fasciitis vs. Gout: Similarities and Differences

Plantar fasciitis and gout are two of the most common causes of forefoot pain. However, they differ in their causes and symptoms. Learn how to diagnose each one

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Kirsty Macdougall - Editor for Upstep
Edited by Kirsty Macdougall

Updated February 17, 2023.

Plantar fasciitis and gout are two of the most common causes of forefoot pain. The conditions are a result of inflammation and can lead to significant foot pain. There are, however, several plantar fasciitis and gout symptom differences, and each stems from a different cause. It is important to understand how they differ to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and obtain the correct treatment.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the thick band of ligaments that connects the heel to the forefoot. Plantar fasciitis is common among athletes and runners due to the overloading of the tissue.

When the plantar fascia is inflamed, it causes a sharp and stabbing pain at the heel. The pain is usually worse after rest, a prolonged period of activity, or stretching the foot. Other symptoms include redness, swelling, and tenderness.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a result of an accumulation of excess uric acid in the blood. This leads to intense heel pain in the morning due to the uric acid buildup. The effect of gout is systemic - affecting multiple joints in the body at once. There can also be swelling around the joint and redness, tenderness, warmth, and stiffness of the metatarsophalangeal joint. Gout can also be present on the bottom of the foot and in the foot arch.

How to Diagnose Plantar Fasciitis or Gout

To diagnose plantar fasciitis, your health care provider will take a detailed history of your symptoms, conduct a thorough physical examination, and order imaging tests. In contrast, a blood test and fluid sample are necessary to diagnose gout. A further differentiator is that plantar fasciitis will only be present in the feet, whereas gout can affect multiple joints in the body. Some people may even experience gout and plantar fasciitis at the same time.