What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis causes pain in the bottom of the heel. The plantar fascia is tissue or ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot and connects your heel to the front of your foot. It acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of foot. Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the part of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes.

 

What are the signs and symptoms?

Symptoms usually involve severe pain in the heel first thing in the morning that gradually improves after some movement. The pain feels better during exercise but returns after resting. It usually affects just one foot, but it can affect both feet, and the pain can be dull or sharp. Some people feel a burning or ache on the bottom of the foot extending outward from the heel.

 

What are the causes?

Plantar fasciitis condition can develop gradually or have an acute onset. It can involve one or both feet and may often be an overuse injury. This condition is common amongst athletes involved in running, tennis and basketball, especially if they have increased their load too quickly during training. Plantar fasciitis can happen to anyone, but it is more common in people who are on their feet for long periods of time.  

 

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis is firstly based on patient history and physical examination. Patients may present with heel pain with their first steps in the morning or after prolonged sitting, and sharp pain with pushing in the region. Diagnostic imaging is rarely needed for the initial diagnosis of plantar fasciitis and the use of ultrasounds or MRIs is reserved for difficult cases or to rule out other heel issues.

 

How is it treated?

In general, plantar fasciitis is a self-limiting condition, home treatments like rest, icing, and using braces and anti-inflammatory drugs are often the first ways to treat plantar fasciitis. If those don’t ease the pain, an injection of a corticosteroid directly into the damaged section of the ligament can help. For some people, plantar fasciitis becomes a chronic condition. Symptoms may improve and then appear again, or the pain may remain consistent for a year or longer

 

How can it be prevented?

To help prevent plantar fasciitis it is important to maintain a healthy weight, wear shoes with good support, do low-impact exercise and avoid high-impact where possible, and do leg and foot stretches.