Plantar fasciitis is a common foot problem, starting as a dull intermittent pain in the heel and sometimes progressing into a sharp persistent pain. The pain is often at its worst upon awakening and getting up in the morning (or after sitting down for an extended period and then resuming activity), causing hobbling or limping for a few minutes before a comfortable stride can be resumed. As weight continues to be applied during walking or standing, mild or severe pain may persist.
The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous tissue on the bottom of the foot, attached to the heel bone and fanning toward the toe. It is responsible for maintaining the arch of the foot. Pain can result when these tissues become irritated or inflamed from repetitive stress. Plantar fascia injuries may occur in the heel or mid-arch or even towards the toes.
Sometimes, as the fascia is pulled away from the bone, the body reacts by filing in the space with new bone, causing small ‘heel spurs’ as a result. This projection of bone can grow where the muscles of the foot attach to the bone.
People with flat pronated feet or high arched rigid feet may be more predisposed to this injury. It is important to note that a painful heel may also accompany such conditions as: gout, arthritis, nerve injuries, psoriasis, heel bone abnormalities, collagen disorders or tumours. Illnesses like these and others must be diagnosed and treated separately.
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