Plantar Fasciitis Overview
Plantar fasciitis is a progressing condition that is characterized by tears and inflammation which develops along the plantar fascia ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot. In the most severe of instances, plantar fasciitis can lead to ruptures of the plantar fascia.
Heel pain is typically the biggest indicator of plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia ligament is a thick, fibrous band of connective tissue that supports of arch of the foot. This band spans the length of the foot from the calcaneus, or the heel bone, to the metatarsal bones towards the toes.
Plantar Fasciitis Causes
The discomfort of plantar fasciitis usually stems from overuse. When running, exercising, lifting heavy objects, or simply walking, constant stress is placed on the bottom of the foot and especially on the heels. When taking even one step, the plantar fascia stretches and contracts as the foot hits the ground. When sudden pressure is added to the heel or irregular steps are taking, the sensitive fascia ligament can become stretched abnormally or simply too much which leads to tears and painful inflammation.
In addition to repetitive stress and overuse, plantar fasciitis can also be caused by biomechanical factors which can also lead to damage along the plantar fascia. These conditions include pronation, flat feet, a high-arched foot, or tension along the calf muscle or Achilles tendon. Prolonged exercise or physical activity on uneven surfaces can also play havoc with your heels. Other factors include wearing shoes that are improperly fitted or unsupportive, or maintaining an unhealthy weight – both of which add unnecessary strain to the heel of the foot. Finally, age is often a factor. As we get older, wear and tear is a common risk for sensitive tissue such as the plantar fascia. Only in the rarest of occasions will an isolated injury lead to plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Most of those who suffer from plantar fasciitis complain of a dull aching pain. Others may experience sharp pain as well, but plantar fasciitis pain may often worsen as tension is placed on the fascia liagment. This can be simulated by raising your toes off of the ground, also referred to as dorsiflexion. Standing or even exercising for prolonged periods of time can easily spur heel pain. Heel pain in the morning immediately after getting out of bed is also a common symptom.
Plantar fasciitis symptoms are most pronounced when getting our of bed and following periods of rest or lethargy. The tension that follows activity irritates the inflamed, damaged tissue. However, pain and aching typically subsides after the fascia has a chance to warm up after walking. After warming up, the fascia releases tension which helps to reduce discomfort.
General Plantar Fasciitis Information
Affecting millions of people each year, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. When considering how much stress and weight our feet must endure each day, it’s truly no wonder why plantar fasciitis is such a common foot ailment. In addition to our own body weight, the heel of the foot is responsible for absorbing the weight and pressure of the items we carry and the physical activities we participate in. Unfortunately, all of these factors can lead to damage in the flexible yet sensitive tissue that connects to the heels of our feet. Weight gain, improper shoes, and abnormal biomechanics can easily lead to damage in the heels, and often does in the form of plantar fasciitis.
With each step we take, the plantar fascia becomes tense. The tension along the bottom of the foot can sometimes increase to unbearable levels when it is forcibly pulled away from the heel bone, which is what leads to plantar fasciitis and related conditions that cause heel pain. Too much sudden tension or repeated stress applied to the plantar fascia ligament can cause unbearable pain. Fortunately, most people suffering from plantar fasciitis can find relief through noninvasive means. Heelpedia is your guide to plantar fasciitis and will help you learn more about plantar fasciitis and treatment options.