Anatomy of your Foot
The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that lies directly beneath the skin on the bottom of your foot. It connects the heel to the front of your foot, and supports the arch of your foot.
Cause of Foot Pain
The plantar fascia is designed to absorb the high stresses and strains we place on our feet. But, sometimes, too much pressure damages or tears the tissues. The body’s natural response to injury is inflammation, which results in foot pain in the heel and stiffness of plantar fasciitis.
Risk Factors adding to Foot Pain
It often happens that plantar fasciitis simply sets in without a specific underlying cause. Nonetheless, there are several factors which are known to increase the risk for developing this condition. Obesity and high arch are two of the factors, while practicing repetitive impact sports (such as running or sports that involve severe physical contact) can also increase the risk for plantar fasciitis. Other notable risk factors are increased physical activity coupled with tight muscle calves – the latter makes it very difficult to flex your feet and bring your toes toward your shin.
Although many people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, spurs are not the cause of plantar fasciitis pain. One out of 10 people has heel spurs, but only 1 out of 20 people (5%) with heel spurs has foot pain. Because the spur is not the cause of plantar fasciitis, the pain can be treated without removing the spur. Heel spurs do not cause plantar fasciitis foot pain.
The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel
- Pain with the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning, or after a long period of rest, such as after a long car ride. The pain subsides after a few minutes of walking
- Greater heel pain after (not during) exercise or activity