What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

June 08, 2011 Posted by Dr.Chang

The most common reason, by far, that patients come to our office is because they are experiencing heel pain.  In fact, we see it so often that we are in the process of creating The Heel Pain Center of Central Virginia which will specialize in the treatment of heel pain (plantar fasciitis).  Today we would like to share a little more information with you on heel pain and it’s number one cause, plantar fasciitis.

What are some common causes of heel pain?
The number one cause of heel pain is a condition called plantar fasciitis. It is often characterized by pain on the bottom of the heel when you take your first steps in the morning, but can also last all day long—with pain often progressing the longer the condition remains untreated. In addition, other common causes of heel pain include tendinitis, stress fractures, neuritis, bursitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and fat pad thinning.

What can cause Plantar Fasciitis specifically?
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by a number of factors, including weight gain, worn-out shoes, walking barefoot, increasing exercise, and walking on hard surfaces without proper support. Any of these factors, in combination with how your feet function mechanically, can cause plantar fasciitis.

Photo from www.APMA.org

A closer at Plantar Fasciitis

The primary cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue band (fascia) connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes. This pain is generally centered under the heel, and can be caused by (but not limited to) activities that include: wearing improper footwear, excessive weight, walking barefoot and/or walking barefoot on hard surfaces, and an increase in exercise. While many heel pain sufferers often assume their heel pain is caused by a heel spur on the heel bone (commonly referred to as “heel spur syndrome”), heel spurs have been proven to not be the cause of heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is often successfully treated with custom orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist, injections, prescription medications, physical therapy and immobilization. The longer plantar fasciitis goes untreated, the more difficult it is to find relief, so above all, visit a podiatrist at the first sign of heel pain.

For more information, check out the APMA Get A Handle On Your Heel Pain Guide

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