Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. The plantar fascia helps to support the arch of the foot and acts as a shock absorber when you walk or run.
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel, especially first thing in the morning or after sitting for a while. The pain can also be felt when standing or walking for long periods of time.
The condition can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Overuse or repetitive stress from activities such as running or walking
- Being overweight or obese
- Having high arches or flat feet
- Wearing shoes with poor arch support or worn-out soles
- Having a tight Achilles tendon
Treatment for plantar fasciitis usually starts with conservative measures such as rest, ice, and physical therapy. Stretching exercises, orthotics, and shoe inserts can also be helpful. In some cases, a night splint worn while sleeping can help to stretch the plantar fascia and alleviate pain. In more severe cases, a corticosteroid injection or extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) may be used to reduce inflammation. Surgery is a very rare option and recommended only if other treatments have failed.
It’s important to see a medical professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan as heel pain can be caused by other conditions as well.