The plantar fascia supports the foot’s arch and absorbs shock when walking. Fasciitis is usually the result of repeated stress on the plantar fascia that can contribute to small tears in the tissue. Although anyone can develop this condition, there are a number of factors that can increase the risk, including athletic activity that puts stress on the heel, flat feet, high arches, obesity, and standing on hard surfaces for large periods. Plantar fasciitis is also more common in people between the ages of 40 and 60.
Pain from plantar fasciitis is often described as a stabbing sensation in the heel or bottom of the foot. Pain usually develops gradually with activity and is worse in the morning or after long periods of standing. Plantar fasciitis can impact one or both feet.
Physicians will diagnose plantar fasciitis by assessing symptoms and medical history. An exam will also take place, allowing the physician to identify areas of tenderness in the foot. Imaging tests cannot identify plantar fasciitis, although they may be used to rule out conditions such as fractures or bone spurs.
Conservative treatment methods, such as rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications are usually effective. Corticosteroid injections, orthotics, splints, and physical therapy may also be recommended. Surgery is an option to relieve tension on the plantar fascia if symptoms persist.