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Close up of a person wearing Plantar Fasciitis socks

Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

To be technical...

Plantar fasciitis (PF), also known as Plantar Heel Pain (PHP) is a painful inflammatory process of the plantar fascia, the connective tissue or ligament on the sole (bottom surface) of the foot. It is often caused by overuse of the plantar fascia, increases in activities, weight, or age. It is a very common condition and can be difficult to treat if not looked after properly. 

To be blunt...

Plantar fasciitis, you suck. That is all. — Christina Ewing 

Plantar Fasciitis pain is focused primarily in and around the heel, but it can radiate up into the calf, and down across the bottom of the foot or the length of the plantar fascia ligament.  

This heel pain is most excruciating first thing in the morning when the ligament is at its tightest after a night of rest, and during exercise when the movement and impact tend to worsen the inflammation.

How do you get Plantar Fasciitis?

Active adults and are the most common victims of plantar fasciitis: runners, joggers, basketball players, tennis and racquetball players... basically any sport that requires quick or repetitive movements combined with impact on the heel and arch of the foot can lead to plantar fasciitis. Aging seniors also suffer from this debilitating heel pain, especially if they are trying to remain active by regularly walking or jogging.

Another leading cause of plantar fasciitis is being overweight or obese.  In this case, while a sports-related injury may not be to blame, just the daily stress of walking with too much excess weight straining the plantar fascia ligament can lead to inflammation and heel pain.

Anyone whose job requires long periods of standing or walking is prone to develop plantar fasciitis as well.  And in all cases, wearing poor-quality footwear, including athletic shoes with no arch support, can easily cause or worsen a case of plantar fasciitis. While it's not common, untreated plantar fasciitis can lead to chronic heel pain, permanent problems walking, and injury to the knees, legs, hips, and back.

How do you heal Plantar Fasciitis?

After speaking with a medical provider, sufferers of Plantar Fasciitis may do one or more of the following: 

Most people find a combination of rest, ice, and proper foot care does the trick.