If you’ve ever experienced nagging heel pain that persists over an extended period of time, with pain at its worst on rising in the morning and improving a bit as the day goes on, chances are you’ve had an encounter with the malady known as Plantar Fasciitis. Inside the sole of your foot, a dense band of slightly elastic tissue spans the distance between your heel and toes, providing a sheath for the tendons and muscles within. This tissue also provides support for the weight bearing arch of your foot. Planta is Latin for ‘foot sole’ and Fascia is Latin for ‘band’. Plantar Fasciitis is the medical term for inflammation of this band of collagen fibers connecting the heel and toe area of the foot known as the Plantar Fascia.
The signature heel pain of plantar fasciitis is caused by both small and large tears of the plantar fascia. These tears result from the wear and tear of prolonged periods on soles of the feet, particularly from excess weight, from shocks sustained by the repetitive impacts of running and jumping, and from hyperflexion of the plantar fascia beyond its normal range. While our feet are designed to accommodate the occasional stresses of weight and activity that are beyond what we experience normally from day to day, prolonged stress of this type prevents the body’s healing mechanisms from repair of damaged tissue, resulting in a condition that is not only painful in the short-term, but which may worsen if treatment is delayed.
Who is Susceptible to Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis afflicts people with both active and sedentary lifestyles. It can among athletes and runners (“Jogger’s Heel”) or it may strike relatively inactive and sedentary people who are overweight. It sometimes appears during pregnancy, particularly during the later stages. There are numerous mechanisms experienced across a wide range of lifestyles that can result in tears of the plantar fascia.
While not all foot pain is related to plantar fasciitis, an experienced podiatrist can best make an assessment of whether Plantar Fasciitis is in fact the cause, and if so, can determine how the injury occurred and can recommend the best course of treatment. Dr. Brendan McConnell and Dr. Nelson Keller can recommend measures to implement for relief of pain and to allow healing of the plantar fascia to occur.