Do you experience sharp, jolting heel pain as soon as you get out of the bed in the morning or when you start moving again after long periods of inactivity? Have you come to expect similar pain after going for a run or a long day of standing at work?
If these symptoms sound familiar, you might have plantar fasciitis. This is one of the most common causes of heel pain, but also one that will frequently respond well to conservative treatments. Most patients will experience substantial-to-complete relief of their heel pain within several months!
What is Plantar Fasciitis? What Causes It?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects the base of the toes to your heel bone (calcaneus). It runs along the underside of the foot and helps form the arch.
This band flexes as you walk, storing and releasing energy that helps you move. It is typically very strong, but can still be susceptible to damage and overuse.
When the plantar fascia becomes overstretched or overstrained, it can develop very small tears in the tissue, leading to consistent irritation and discomfort. Such injuries can occur due to:
- Physical activity that either places too much stress on the plantar fascia all at once, or subjects it to repetitive impacts over time without providing enough time for rest and recovery.
- Jobs and routines that require lots of walking or standing – especially on hard surfaces.
- Abnormalities in foot structure that cause weight to be improperly focused on the plantar fascia.
- An excess of bodyweight bearing down on the plantar fascia.