1. Even though some doctors use heel spur and plantar fasciitis interchangeably, there is a slight difference. Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia while heel spur is a soft bendable deposits of calcium at the area whereby the plantar fascia is attached to the heel bone.
2. The growth of the heel spur occurs when the plantar fascia attaching to the heel bone tears away from the heel bone and causes the outer layer of the bone to be injured. Minor bleeding will then occur at the area and it will ossify and form a spur.
3. Heel spurs do not cause pain. If you are feeling pain at the heel area, it is more likely the tearing and tension of the soft tissues that is causing the pain.
4. Heel spurs are not spike-shaped. but flat. They seem to be like spikes because the x-rays are taken from the side. Pain are rare unless the spur is poking into the surrounding tissues.
5. The phrase 'heel spur' is often used rather than 'plantar fasciitis' because a heel spur is visible on an x-ray. The idea of a 'spur' poking into tissue is a more believable and understandable cause of pain even if it's a false description. It is also easier to pronounce and spell than 'plantar fasciitis'.