Plantar Fasciitis - Heel Pain
Professional Help for Heel and Foot Arch Pain
Does this sound familiar: “My heels and feet hurt first thing when I get up in the morning or after sitting for a period of time, and it often gets worse during the day.” Heel or foot arch pain, especially first thing in the morning, can indicate plantar fasciitis.
What Is the Plantar Fascia?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue on the underside of your foot. It attaches to the heel bone, running along the foot’s bottom to the forefoot. This material acts as a ‘spring’ to support the foot when walking, running, and jumping, helping absorb shock and push you forward.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is among the most common causes of heel and foot pain. However, it can present differently, with pain occurring anywhere along the arch or under the heel. Inflammation and swelling are often associated with micro-tears of the fascia, especially the attachment sites on the heel bone.
What Are the Symptoms?
The most common clinical symptom of plantar fasciitis is a sharp pain under the heel or arch when taking your first few steps in the morning. Typically, the pain gets better with time. Other symptoms can include an ache in the arch or a burning sensation after prolonged standing or sitting, and pain upon resting. In addition, the heel or inside of the arch can become swollen and hot to the touch.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The condition is caused by increased stress along the plantar fascia. Repeated stretching or overuse can cause the soft tissue to tear or inflame, often resulting in micro-tears or, in extreme cases, complete rupture of the plantar fascia. Several risk factors contribute to developing plantar fasciitis, including:
- A sudden increase in exercise
- Poor quality or ill-fitting footwear
- Age, especially between 35 and 65
- Foot mechanics: People with a flatter foot or high arch are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis
- Occupation: Those working long hours on hard or uneven surfaces are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis—for example, factory workers, nurses, teachers, and builders