What causes plantar fasciitis?
An abnormal step causes the plantar fascia to stretch irregularly, become stressed, and develop small tears, which results in inflammation (plantar fasciitis). The plantar fascia is a very thick band of tissue that covers the bones on the bottom of the foot. This fascia can become inflamed and painful in some people, making walking more difficult. Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia, a fibrous band of tissue on the sole of the foot that helps to support the arch.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when this band of tissue is overloaded or overstretched. This produces small tears in the fibers of the fascia, especially where the fascia meets the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis is common in obese people and in pregnant women, perhaps because their extra body weight overloads the delicate plantar fascia. It is also more common in people with diabetes, although the exact reason for this is unknown. Plantar fasciitis also can be triggered by physical activities that overstretch the fascia, including sports (volleyball, running, tennis), other exercises (step aerobics, stair climbing), or household exertion (pushing furniture or a large appliance). Worn or poorly constructed shoes can contribute to the problem if they do not provide enough arch support, heel cushion or sole flexibility. In athletes, plantar fasciitis may follow intense training, especially in runners who push themselves too quickly to run longer distances.
Risk factors for plantar fasciitis include foot arch problems (both flat foot and high arches), obesity, sudden weight gain, running, and a tight Achilles tendon (the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel). A typical patient is an active man aged 40-70. Biomechanical factors, such as abnormal inward twisting or rolling of the foot (pronation), high arches, flat feet, tight calf muscles, or tight tendons at the back of the heel (Achilles tendons). Excessive pronation, which can cause tension in the plantar fascia as the arch lowers during standing or walking, has been found in about 85% of people with plantar fasciitis. Repetitive activities that stress the ligament, such as jobs or activities that require prolonged walking or standing on hard or irregular surfaces or from sports such as running.
More information on plantar fasciitis
What is plantar fasciitis? - Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot that causes heel pain and disability.
What causes plantar fasciitis? - An abnormal step causes the plantar fascia to stretch irregularly, become stressed, and develop small tears, which results in inflammation (plantar fasciitis).
What're the symptoms of plantar fasciitis? - The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the bottom of the heel, usually worst in the morning and improving throughout the day.
How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed? - Typical physical exam to diagnose plantar fasciitis include tenderness on the bottom of the heel, closer to the midline, and mild swelling and redness.
What's the treatment for plantar fasciitis? - Initial treatment for plantar fasciitis usually consists of heel stretching exercises, shoe inserts, night splints, and anti-inflammatory medications.
How to prevent plantar fasciitis? - The best way to prevent plantar fasciitis is to wear shoes that are well made and fit your feet. Exercises that stretch the heel cord may help.