Plantar Fasciitis is a condition of inflammation of the Plantar Fascia, which is a wide and inelastic band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom (Plantar surface) of the foot. The Plantar Fascia acts like a bowstring that forms the arch. It is attached to the heel bone, runs along the arch as it widens out, and attaches to the ball of the foot.
This inflammation, or Plantar Faciitis is a common, painful foot condition that affects people of all ages, but mainly middle aged men and women. It is also closely linked to people who have gained weight rapidly and in recreational runners and athletes. Doctors and patients alike often mistake or misdiagnose Plantar Fasciitis as heel spurs.
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This is a common error as the pain associated with this syndrome is localized in the heel accompanied by sharp, stabbing pain.
Here’s Here to Tell If You Have It
The Pain: The pain builds gradually and can affect both feet simultaneously. The band of tissue that forms the arch of the foot becomes inflamed, or swollen and damaged. The pain is usually the worst in the morning when first standing, but usually subsides rather quickly. However, the pain generally comes back after a long day of standing or walking, or getting up from a prolonged seated position.
The Length of Pain: This condition can persist for years if not taken care of properly. Often, after treatment, people tend to feel well and healed, resulting in a forced return to a normal life of walking, standing, and running. An early return to normal life can lead to a re-straining of the tendons starting the condition all over. If ignored, this condition can cause other chronic conditions that may hinder a return to normal life. Due to Plantar Fasciitis causing people to change the way they walk, foot, knee, hip, and back problems can develop.
Those at Risk: People that are considered high risk for Plantar Fasciitis are flat footed people, people with high arches and rigid feet, or those with poor arch supports in their foot wear. Those that run or walk on their toes, run on inclines, or experience a rapid activity level change, and pregnant women are also considered high risk of heel pain problems like plantar fasciitis.
What To Do about PF If You Have It
One of the first things to do when experiencing Plantar Fasciitis is to rest the affected foot.
Hot and cold treatments, alternating between the two, should follow. Be sure to use a deep, penetrating heat to stimulate the blood flow to the foot. Cool it down with ice for the swelling and repeat. Changing the shoes you wear and wearing night splints along with stretching exercises are also know to be effective treatments.
Read our Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Guide for the full range of treatments that can help with plantar fasciitis.