What is Plantar Fasciitis?

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Have you ever got out of bed in the morning, and as your foot hits the ground, a mysterious burning pain covers the bottom of your foot? If you answered “yes,” we might be able to bring that mystery to the light and offer suggestions to end your phantom foot pain.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

According to The Mayo Clinic, “Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.”  When the plantar fascia, the thick ligament attaching the heel to the front of the foot, becomes irritated or torn from years of abuse, plantar fasciitis is the result.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Someone suffering from plantar fasciitis will experience an intense bruised or burning feeling on their heel and the ball of their foot. The pain can be highly intense. At times, this pain occurs constantly. Other times, the sufferer may not show any symptoms at all.

Causes and Risk Factors

When repeated strain is placed on the plantar fascia ligament, the foot’s built-in “shock absorber,” the stress causes the ligament to tear or rip. Those tears and rips then cause the painful inflammation associated with the condition.

Some of the risk factors that can cause the condition include:

  • The foot’s anatomy — especially high arches
  • Obesity — added weight puts added strain on the foot
  • Occupational hazards — working on your feet for multiple hours at a time can lead to the condition
  • Certain types of exercise — this is a prevalent issue found in runners
  • Age — as with most body parts, the plantar fascia can simply wear down with time

Diagnosis and Treatment

Once you see that the pain in the bottom of your foot is persistent, then it is time to make a podiatry appointment with a qualified podiatrist. The diagnostic process is typically straightforward. First, the podiatrist will take your medical history, consider your risk factors for the condition, and perform a physical examination of the bottom of the foot. Occasionally, an X-ray or MRI will be requested to ensure that no fractures are present. Finally, the podiatrist will use the results to determine if the patient has plantar fasciitis.

Treatments will vary due to the condition’s severity. Possible treatments include:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Night splints or orthotics
  • Surgery in extreme cases

In addition, patients can do some self-care activities to help alleviate the condition. Making simple lifestyle changes like wearing comfortable, supportive shoes, losing weight, staying off your feet when possible, and stretching the ligament will go a long way towards overcoming plantar fasciitis.

Regardless of the severity of the issue, plantar fasciitis can be treated with a relatively successful outcome in most cases. By being proactive and implementing a few measures of foot self-care, you can prevent the condition from becoming a pain in your foot that controls your life.


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