Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury. Repetitive over-stretching of the plantar fascia under the foot leads to possible inflammation and thickening of the tendon.
The fascia can become inflamed and painful at its attachment to the heel bone or calcaneus. The condition is traditionally thought to be inflammation, however this is now believed to be incorrect due to the absence of actual inflammatory cells within the fascia.
Although overuse is usually thought to the cause of plantar fasciitis there are a number of factors which can increase the likelihood of developing the condition:
- High arched foot
- Wearing inappropriate foot wear
- Overweight individuals.
- Tight muscles
Signs & Symptoms
There may be tenderness under the sole of the foot and on the inside of the heel when pressing in. The pain can range from being slightly uncomfortable to very painful depending on how badly it is damaged.
Pain is usually worse first in the morning because the foot has been in a relaxed position all night and the plantar fascia temporarily shortens. After walking around this usually eases as the tissues warm up and gradually stretch out. When the condition is present, similar periods of moving around following inactivity such as sitting for long periods can also trigger the pain. In the early acute stages stretching the plantar fascia may also be painful.
As the injury becomes more severe the patient may experience pain all of the time, when walking or standing and may worsen with activities such as running or playing sport.