What is Plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that causes pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel bone to the toes, becomes inflamed and irritated.

The plantar fascia serves as a shock absorber and helps support the arch of the foot. When the plantar fascia is overused or overstretched, tiny tears can occur in the tissue, leading to inflammation and pain.

Plantar fasciitis is most commonly seen in people who engage in activities that involve a lot of standing, walking, or running, especially on hard surfaces. It is also more common in people who have flat feet, high arches, or tight calf muscles.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis typically include pain and stiffness in the heel or bottom of the foot, especially upon waking up in the morning or after sitting for a long period of time. The pain may be sharp or dull, and may worsen with activity.

Diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is typically made based on a physical exam and patient history. Imaging tests such as X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI may be used to rule out other possible causes of foot pain.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis typically involves a combination of rest, stretching, and icing the affected area. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may also be used to alleviate pain and inflammation.

In addition to conservative treatments, physical therapy or the use of custom orthotics may be recommended to help support the foot and reduce stress on the plantar fascia. In rare cases, surgery may be required to release tension in the plantar fascia.

To prevent plantar fasciitis, it is important to wear supportive, well-fitting shoes and to stretch the calf muscles regularly. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding activities that put excessive stress on the feet can also help reduce the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

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