Difference Between Gout and Plantar Fasciitis (With Table)

Foot injuries can often be severe. Even if the injury is not too severe, it can still make basic movements difficult for a time. Two injuries that are often confused with each other are Gout and Plantar Fasciitis. Even though both of these injuries cause difficulty in movement, they still vary in almost everything else.

Gout vs Plantar Fasciitis

The difference between gout and plantar fasciitis is that gout can affect any joint of the body such as wrist, ankle, etc., whereas plantar fasciitis affects the foot only. The causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, etc., of both these injuries, also vary significantly.

Gout is a disease that is a common form of inflammatory arthritis. It mostly affects the big toe joint but it can also affect any other joint in the body. It can often be very painful when symptoms get worse and gout flares start appearing.

Plantar fasciitis is a disease that is a result of a plantar fascia’s inflammation. It only affects the bottom of the foot that runs from the heel to the toes. Most plantar fasciitis cases usually resolve by themselves without professional treatment.

Comparison Table Between Gout and Plantar Fasciitis

Parameters of ComparisonGoutPlantar Fasciitis
CausesExcessive uric acid in the blood.Physical activity, overweight, pregnancy.
Affected AreaIt can affect any of the joints in the body.It only affects the foot.
SymptomsReddish joints, swelling, intense pain, etc.Heel pain, arch pain, etc.
DiagnosisJoint fluid test, Ultrasound, etc.MRI test, X-ray test, etc.
TreatmentMedications including NSAIDs, Corticosteroids, etc.Ultrasonic tissue repair, physical therapy

What is Gout?

Gout is a disease that is a result of hyperuricemia. Hyperuricemia is defined as a rise of uric acid in the blood. This rise of uric acid is usually caused by dehydration, metabolism disorders, and blood disorders, etc. Gout affects about 4% of the population worldwide.

The disease can affect any of the joints in the body but is most common to the big toe joint. Some common symptoms of gout include swelling and redness of the affected joint, burning sensation, and tenderness in the joint to the point where it is unbearable to any touch.

If mild gout is left untreated, it can become much more severe to the point where it cannot be cured and lasts for a lifetime. However, medications and physical therapy can marginally reduce the symptoms to mild discomfort only.

Since gout is a result of hyperuricemia, it is linked to diseases beyond the joints. Therefore, gout can cause many other organ-related problems including permanent joint stiffness, cardiovascular diseases, kidney damage, etc.

Gout is more commonly observed in middle-aged men and is caused by both genetics and environmental factors. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc., are prone to gout. However, the inheritance of this disease is scientifically unclear.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is a disease that is caused by the inflammation of the Plantar Fascia. Plantar Fascia is a thick fibrous tissue that connects the heel to the toes of the foot. It supports and balances the foot arch which helps in walking. Plantar Fasciitis affects about 10% of people worldwide.

The disease affects only the heel of the foot and is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Some symptoms of plantar fasciitis include stabbing pain in the heel and arch, limping, swelling, and tenderness of the feet. The pain is excessive when walking after a prolonged period of inactivity or rest.

Mild symptoms of the disease are usually self-treated. However, in some cases, untreated plantar fasciitis can result in small tears in the plantar fascia. As a result, the pain gradually keeps increasing before it becomes a serious injury. Therefore, it is still advisable to get the condition diagnosed in its early stages.

Both men and women above 40 years of age only usually get affected by plantar fasciitis. Overweight people possess an even higher risk because of the increased pressure on the plantar fascia. There are promising treatments available for the disease including physical therapy, steroidal surgeries, and other medications.

Main Differences Between Gout and Plantar Fasciitis

  1. Gout is usually treated by a medical professional whereas plantar fasciitis in most cases is usually self-treated.
  2. Gout can affect any of the joints in the body whereas plantar fasciitis affects only the foot.
  3. Severe gout does not have a direct cure, and mild symptoms last for a lifetime. On the other hand, plantar fasciitis can be cured with promising treatments.
  4. Gout is not a common disease whereas plantar fasciitis has become much more common compared to a few decades back.
  5. Untreated gout can cause various other problems in all internal organs of the body whereas untreated plantar fasciitis causes problems in only the lower body.

Conclusion

Foot diseases are among the most problematic conditions. Be it mild or severe, movement and walking are always disturbed with noticeable pain. Both gout and plantar fasciitis have symptoms that can become unbearable if the condition is not treated right.

To reduce to risk of these diseases, various self-care and prevention methods should be introduced in lifestyle. When considering gout, people prone to the disease should eliminate high-purine foods like red meat and seafood from their diet as they cause a rise of uric acid in the blood. Furthermore, drinking plenty of healthy fluids and staying hydrated will flush out uric acid faster.

On the other hand, when we consider plantar fasciitis, maintaining a weight in the optimal BMI range is the key to prevention. Overweight people’s body puts more pressure on the plantar fascia, which makes it prone to inflammation. Furthermore, wearing the right training shoes, warmup before physical exercises, stretching the arches, etc., will reduce the risk of injury.

Even though the two diseases are not as common, taking preventive measures is necessary as the severity of these two conditions will cause unbearable pain and may even result in permanent damage to the affected area.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/ar2952
  2. https://journals.healio.com/doi/full/10.3928/0147-7447-19931001-13
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