Plantar Fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an extremely painful condition characterized by inflammation in the tissue that connects the toes to the heel bone. People who are afflicted usually feel a sharp stabbing pain at the bottom of the affected foot when they first get up in the morning. The pain subsides as the individual moves around, but it can return after long periods of inactivity.

Anyone can get plantar fasciitis, but it is more common in people who are active, especially runners. Other risk factors include obesity and the use of improper shoes.



The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain at the bottom of the foot close to the heel. The pain is usually at its worst first thing in the morning, when the individual wakes up and gets out of bed. Some people report excruciating pain for the first few minutes of walking around, which then gradually subsides into a dull ache. The pain may return when the individual gets up and walks around after a long period of inactivity. Outbreaks of pain are rare during exercise, but often occur immediately afterward.

People with plantar fasciitis often have problems with their ankles, knees, hips and back. This may be a result of limping to compensate for the heel pain.


What are the causes?

There is a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia, that runs along the bottom of the foot from the toes to the heel. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this tissues is torn or inflamed. Although the cause cannot always be determined, some risk factors include the following:

  • Improper stretching, over stretching, or stretching muscles that are too cold
  • High impact exercise, such as as distance running, dancing and jumping activities
  • Having an improper gait, or flat feet or high arches that are not adequately supported by the shoes
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Obesity
  • Occupations that require a lot of standing, such as nursing, teaching and working on a factory floor

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