Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis)
Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue (ligament) that runs across the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes that supports the arch of your foot. (plantar fascia) Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel.
Does your heel or the bottom of your foot hurt when you stand or walk? This could be because you may have strained your plantar fascia. You may be wondering what causes this. Your plantar fascia acts like the string of an archer’s bow and supports the arch in your foot. When there is too much tension/stretching and stress, smalls tears can develop in the fascia causing the fascia to become weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). There are some risk factors that can increase plantar fasciitis however; there are still causes of plantar fasciitis that are not clear.
Age: Plantar fasciitis is commonly seen in people between the ages of 40-60.
Activities: People who engage in certain types of exercise and activities can contribute to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis by placing a lot of stress on their heels and tendons including long-distance running, ballistic jumping activities, ballet dancing and aerobic dance.
Foot Mechanics: High arches, having flat feet, or having an abnormal pattern of walking contribute to stressing your plantar fascia.
Weight: Being over weight or obese can put stress on your plantar fascia.
Occupation: If you are working in a job where you are on your feet all day or walking or standing on hard surfaces most of the day, you can cause damage to your plantar fascia.
If you are having heel pain it can interfere with your daily activities. Untreated heel pain or plantar fasciitis can lead to chronic foot problems and it can change your gait which can lead to further knee, hip or back problems.
ARCH SUPPORTS, HEEL CUPS, AND NIGHT SPLINTS
Foot orthotics are commonly recommended to aid in the prevention of overpronation of the foot and to minimize the symptoms of plantar fasciitis these can include heel cups or wedges, arch orthotics, and custom foot orthotics used in conjunction with good running shoes or a well supported tennis shoe for plantar fasciitis.
There are still many unanswered questions about why some people develop plantar fasciitis so if you have been dealing with arch pain or plantar fasciitis I would love to hear what you have tried to minimize your pain. Or if you would like to comment about any of this content feel free to leave me a message.
James D. Goff, DO, and Robert Crawford, MD, Summa Health System, Akron, Ohio Am Fam Physician. 2011 Sep 15;84(6):676-682.