What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

If you are an adult and are experiencing consistent pain in your heel that seems worse in the morning after getting out of bed and feels better as the day goes on, you are most likely experiencing plantar fasciitis. 

The plantar fascia is a tendon-like-structure that runs from the base of your heel all the way to the start of your toes. This is a very strong tendon as it supports the arch of the foot. When this tendon is placed under high stress, for example excessive periods of standing, increase in exercise, or the person is overweight, it can sustain strain and small tears. The strain and small tears lead to an inflammatory reaction from the body, causing the classic heel pain. 

The “first step pain” is a defining feature of plantar fasciitis and is felt mostly in the morning while getting out of bed and while standing after a long period of sitting. As you are resting and not weight bearing, the plantar fascia is able to retract slightly, and is abruptly stretched out when the foot is placed on the floor. 

Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed by assessing the symptoms, the foot and sometimes an ultrasound is required. The ultrasound will show inflammation in the area of painfulness.

If you have had the area X-rayed, often it will show a heel spur, and this is often what the pain is attributed to. However, The spur itself is rarely the cause of the heel pain and is often just an incidental finding.