Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.
Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight, women who are pregnant and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis can cause intense heel pain....
In most cases, the pain associated with plantar fasciitis:
Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension on that bowstring becomes too great, it can create small tears in the fascia. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed.
Factors that may increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:
Ignoring plantar fasciitis may result in chronic heel pain that hinders your regular activities. You may also develop foot, knee, hip or back problems because of the way plantar fasciitis changes your walking.
Preparing for your appointment
While you may initially consult your family physician, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in foot disorders or sports medicine.
What you can do
List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For plantar fasciitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
To make a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis, your doctor reviews your medical history and physically examines your foot. An imaging test might be needed, too.
Your doctor may also check the musculoskeletal and neurological health of your ankle joint and foot by testing your:
Sometimes, an X-ray shows a spur of bone projecting forward from the heel bone. In the past, these bone spurs were often blamed for heel pain and removed surgically. But many people who have bone spurs on their heels have no heel pain.
Treatments and drugs
About 90 percent of the people who have plantar fasciitis recover with conservative treatments in just a few months.
Surgical or other procedures
Although some over-the-counter arch supports contain magnets, no reliable evidence indicates that arch supports with magnets relieve heel pain any better than do arch supports without magnets.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Follow these self-care tips to ease pain and discomfort in your foot:
Foot stretches to prevent plantar fasciitis
Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds — don't bounce — and do one or two repetitions two to three times a day. Left: Stand as shown, with your back leg straight and heel down. ...
You can take some simple steps now to prevent painful steps later:
Last Updated: 2011-03-15
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