Plantar Fasciitis Overview

Learn More About Plantar Fasciitis

If you regularly feel a sharp, shooting pain in your heel, you may have plantar fasciitis -- an inflamatory condition that is common for runners. Fortunately, treatment is usually effective, and you can heal your heel with some medication and medical attention.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation in the thick ligament—the plantar fascia—that runs from your heel bone to the ligaments that connect to your toes. The plantar fascia's main function is maintaining the arch in your foot. Chronic plantar fasciitis is the most common debiitating foot complaint, affecting about 10% of the population.

Occasionally, plantar fasciitis patients develop a bone spur where the plantar fascia connects to the heel bone. However, these bone spurs are usually not part of the problem and rarely need treatment. Treating and reducing the inflammation solves plantar fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
If you have plantar fasciitis, you'll experience its main symptom when you get up each morning. That sharp pain in your heel with your first few steps of the day is an almost sure plantar fasciitis diagnosis. But you can often walk it off or stretch it out.

However, if you sit down for a long time, the plantar fasciitis inflammation can come back, and you really feel the pain when you stand up again.

People often live with plantar fasciitis for weeks or months before seeking medical care. Unfortunately, one of its symptoms is also its long duration. It will stay with you for months or years if you don't treat it.

Plantar Fasciitis Causes
The regular activities of life tug and pull on the plantar fascia, and this natural use sometimes causes inflammation and pain. The plantar fascia is usually strong enough to take on the many pressures our feet endure. However, sometimes the ligament wears down, tears, or strains. These injuries cause inflammation and stiffness, and nerves then send the pain signals from your plantar fascia to your brain.

Getting Help with Plantar Fasciitis
There are many treatments for plantar fasciitis, and most of them seek to reduce the inflammation. The most effective treatment for plantar fasciitis is physical therapy. Your doctor, a podiatrist, or an orthopaedic surgeon can write you a prescription for physical therapy, and send you to a therapist who is experienced in treating people who have plantar fasciitis.

Updated on: 11/19/15
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Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis