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The plantar fascia is a long band of fibrous tissue on the bottom of the foot that extends from the heel to the bases of the toes. It supports the joints, bones, and muscles under the foot during midstep and creates a rigid lever for push-off. It also maintains the longitudinal arch of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis (PF) is considered a chronic inflammatory syndrome rather than a post-traumatic disorder and is common in runners and dancers who use a repetitive, maximal plantar flexion of the ankle or dorsiflexion of the MTP joints. It is cause by repetitive stretching of a tight plantar fascial band leading to microtears at its origin on the heel.
Dull pain on the bottom of the heel, worst with the first steps of the morning, is the hallmark. The pain usually subsides after 30-45 minutes of activity.
Pain also occurs with the onset activity such as walking or running and may decrease as activity progresses but usually returns after resting and then resuming activity. In severe cases, pain may occur with any weight bearing. While pain usually occurs in the heel, it can radiate throughout the bottom of the foot towards the toes.
If treatment begins early, most cases resolve in 6 weeks, however, PF can be a chronic and frustrating problems that resists treatment efforts. Surgical release of the plantar fascia and removal of the bone spur may be considered if symptoms persist longer than 6-12 months.
Get the Facts... With your MediFocus Guide
The Medifocus Guide on Plantar Fasciitis provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
- What are the most common symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
- Are there any recognized risk factors for developing Plantar Fasciitis?
- What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis?
- What is the current standard of care for the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis?
- What treatment options are available for the management of Plantar Fasciitis?
- Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
- Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in Plantar Fasciitis?
- Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for Plantar Fasciitis?
- What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about Plantar Fasciitis?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
- Sports and other soft tissue injuries, tendinitis, bursitis, and occupation-related syndromes.
Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 2000
- The use of ultrasound in the foot and ankle.
Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association. 1999
- Plantar fasciitis and other causes of heel pain.
American Family Physician. 1999
- Diagnosing and treating plantar fasciitis: a conservative approach to plantar heel pain.
Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 1999
- Plantar fasciitis.
Lippincott's Primary Care Practice. 1999
- Plantar fasciitis: etiology and treatment.
Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 1999
- A systematic review of treatments for the painful heel.
Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999
- Fortnightly review. Plantar fasciitis.
- Plantar fascia rupture: diagnosis and treatment.
Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery. 1997
- Defective running shoes as a contributing factor in plantar fasciitis in a triathlete.
Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2000
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