Both Baxter’s neuritis and plantar fasciitis cause heel pain, so can often get confused. One is a nerve problem due to a pinching or impingement of the nerve in the heel and the other is a overload inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament where it inserts into the heel. As they are caused by different things and the treatment of them is different is is important to get the diagnosis right between Baxter’s neuritis and plantar fasciitis otherwise a lot of time can get wasted and a lot of unnecessary suffering if you head off down the wrong path.
There are a number of ways to differentiate between the two:
That first step pain in plantar fasciitis is more painful than Baxters
Baxter’s neuritis is more medial plantar and plantar fasciitis is more middle plantar.
Baxter’s neuritis pain can sometimes radiate forward due in the foot, whereas plantar fasciitis tends not to radiate
In Baxter’s neuritis, it might be possible to elicit neuritic pain and other neurological symptoms that you do not get in plantar fasciitis.
The only definitive way to different between Baxters and plantar fasciitis is imaging with MRI or ultrasound which will tend to show the tissue damage in plantar fasciitis and may show a thickening of Baxter’s nerve.