What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis (say “PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus”) is pain in your heel or the bottom of your foot. It happens when the flat band of tissue (ligament) that supports the arch of your foot is inflamed or irritated.
Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Exactly what causes plantar fasciitis is not well understood. But it probably develops as the result of repeated small tears in the plantar fascia camera.gif. Normally when you walk, your plantar fascia stretches as your foot strikes the ground. If the plantar fascia is strained by the way you walk or by repeated stress, it can become weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed), and it can hurt when you stand or walk.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The classic symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain when you take your first steps after getting out of bed or after sitting for a long period of time. You may also have:
- Stiffness and pain in the morning or after resting that gets better after a few steps but gets worse as the day progresses.
- Pain that gets worse when you climb stairs or stand on your toes.
- Pain after you stand for long periods.
- Pain at the beginning of exercise that gets better or goes away as exercise continues but returns when exercise is completed.
- Plantar fasciitis may be mistaken for other conditions with similar symptoms, such as arthritis or a nerve problem such as tarsal tunnel syndrome.