Plantar fasciitis is a painful heel condition experienced by upwards of 2 million Americans each year. Those of you suffering from plantar fasciitis know the feeling all too well. It is excruciating pain when you first get out of bed in the morning, or when you begin walking after being seated for a long time. The pain is so bad on your heel and the back part of your foot that you will actually try to walk on the SIDES of your feet sometimes just to reduce the pain! The stabbing, numbing pain will usually begin to subside a bit before long, but it is always there reminding you of it. It makes you doubt your ability to walk, run, play sports, or be on your feet for very long.
Why does this occur? Generally the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot experiences inflammation. This is a thick band of tissue which connects the heel to the toes, and supports the muscles and arch of the foot. It’s purpose is to absorb stresses that we put on our feet. Tiny tears in the tissue can become inflamed, and can be difficult to heal due to overuse and activity. This inflammation results in the heel pain known as plantar facsiitis.
Plantar fasciitis can develop at any age, but is very unusual in persons under 25. It can be quite prevalent with runners and other athletes due to overuse of the plantar fascia. It is also common amongst overweight individuals and those with hyperpronation (flat feet). Runners with an overpronation are very susceptible to developing plantar fasciitis. Also, women who walk or stand for long periods in high heels are candidates for overpronation, leading quickly to plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms can develop gradually over an extended period of time, or can be tied to a unique incident that places stress on the plantar fascia. Being on your feet for long periods each day, especially in cheap or worn out shoes, can also be a factor in developing the condition.