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All about plantar fasciitis causes of plantar fasciitis symptoms of plantar fasciitis diagnosis of plantar fasciitis treatment for plantar fasciitis prevention of plantar fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling with presence of extra immune cells) of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot that causes heel pain and disability. 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. The

disorder is common in runners and in dancers and may occur in people whose occupations involve standing for prolonged periods. A change in shoe style can also lead to plantar fasciitis. Disorders that may cause or aggravate plantar fasciitis are obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, Reiter's syndrome (reactive arthritis), psoriasis, and fibromyalgia.

Plantar fasciitis is primarily one of repeated stress to the fascia rather than one of inflammation. The plantar fascia is a tough band of fibrous tissue which has its origin at the medial calcaneal tubercle and extends distally with projections over each of the five metatarsal heads plantarly. The plantar fascia is felt to play a major role in maintaining the normal arch, and as such, is subjected to a great deal of stress when a load is placed on the foot. As one might expect, this stress history can give rise to pain within the plantar fascia when there is degeneration of the plantar fascia with subsequent inflammation ensuing. The inflammatory nidus and degenerative locus tends to be at the origin of the plantar fascia, but pain is described both in this region in the mid substance of the plantar fascia. Often a small tear results from excessive strain placed on the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Pain may occur anywhere along the course of the plantar fascia but most commonly is located where the fascia joins the bottom of the heel bone. Many people who develop the disorder have very high or very low arches in their feet. Tight calf muscles or a tight Achilles tendon (which attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone) may cause the foot to flatten, which can lead to a painful "bowstringing" of the fascia.

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 tends to affect those over 30 years of age to a much greater degree than those younger. This probably is a consequence of age-related degeneration of the plantar fascia as well as gradual loss of elasticity in these tissues.

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.
Bone, joint, & muscle disorders

Topics in bone, joint, and muscle disorders

Bone diseases
Bone tumors
Bone cancer
Muscle diseases
Spine (neck and back) disorders
Dupuytren's contracture
Plantar fasciitis
Rheumatoid arthritis
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
Septic arthritis (infectious Arthritis)
Psoriatic arthritis
Reiter's syndrome (reactive arthritis)
Ankylosing spondylitis
Gout (gouty arthritis)

All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005