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Plantar Fasciitis vs. Baxter’s Neuritis (Neuropathy)

Discover the similarities and differences between plantar fasciitis and Baxter's neuritis. Learn about the causes and symptoms of these foot conditions.

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By Janik Sundstrom
Kirsty Macdougall - Editor for Upstep
Edited by Kirsty Macdougall

Updated February 17, 2023.

Pain in the heel is a commonly reported complaint, with pain ranging from mild to debilitating. There are many conditions that cause heel pain, such as Achilles tendon bursitis and Achilles tendonitis. Other causes are plantar fasciitis and Baxter’s neuritis - conditions that share several similarities. However, it is important to recognize the differences between plantar fasciitis and Baxter’s neuritis in order to accurately diagnose them and thus administer the correct treatment.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain that develops in the plantar fascia of the foot. This is the ligament responsible for maintaining arch height when weight is placed on the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia is inflamed as a result of placing the foot under repetitive strain, aggravating the tissue with use.

Symptoms of this condition include sharp, stabbing, or burning sensations experienced at the heel. Morning stiffness after physical activity is also commonly reported by people suffering from plantar fasciitis. 

What Is Baxter’s Neuritis?

Baxter’s neuritis, or peripheral neuropathy, occurs when the small nerve running under the heel of the foot becomes entrapped and irritated as weight is placed onto the heel. As compression of the nerve from muscular structures in the foot is common, it often causes symptoms to develop. Flat feet, plantar fasciitis, and heel spurs are also potential causes of Baxter’s neuritis, as the change in local anatomy causes compression and entrapment to occur.

Symptoms of Baxter's neuropathy include sharp, burning pain on the inside aspect of the heel, which may feel like plantar fasciitis. Consequently, Baxter’s neuritis is frequently mistaken for plantar fasciitis with heel spur syndrome.