What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

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By Dr. Scott Colasanti
Published on July 24, 2013

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

What is Plantar Fasciitis?Have you ever put weight on your feet and felt a sharp pain as though you have stepped on a nail or a sharp piece of glass?

This pain could be plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is the thick band of connective tissue that spans the bottom of the foot, from the forefoot to the heel. Hence plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia.

Plantar Fasciitis Causes

During normal gait, our heel strikes the ground first, and as we shift our weight forward we transfer our weight to our mid and forefoot. As this shift from the rear to the forefoot happens, the plantar fascia stretches and helps propel us forward. When we put excessive strain on the foot such as with poor footwear, prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces, or weight gain to name a few, the plantar fascia becomes irritated and inflamed, and if this condition becomes prolonged, it can lead to heel spurs.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

After identifying the causes, it is best to remove or reduce the stress when possible. Stretching the plantar fascia, icing, foot exercises are very important. Wearing proper footwear and avoiding going bare foot would also advisable.

Custom foot orthotics are often necessary and very helpful. As far as treatment is concerned, therapeutic modalities like ultrasound, electric stimulation and LASER therapy, combined with soft-tissue techniques to help improve the healing and reduce the stress. A plantar fasciitis night splint may also be necessary. This helps keep the plantar fascia in a stretched position at night during sleep, which also promotes healing.

Plantar fasciitis can be quite painful and debilitating so if you are experiencing this type of foot pain, it’s best to get it checked out as soon as possible.