Plantar fasciitis

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Plantar fasciitis is a common condition involving the degeneration, inflammation, and irritation of the plantar fascia in one or both feet. The plantar fascia is a thick tissue band in the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toe and forms the arch. The inflammation and degeneration may cause acute, stabbing pains in the heel. This pain is typically most noticeable with the first steps of the morning and may subside throughout the day. Pain may also occur after standing or being inactive for a long period of time.
In adults, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. It is estimated that this condition occurs in more than two million Americans every year. It often occurs in the middle-aged population, most commonly affecting runners, people who are overweight or pregnant, those with occupations that require long periods of standing or sitting, or those wearing inadequately supportive shoes. Having a tight Achilles tendon, which connects the calf to the heel, and other abnormalities of the lower legs and feet may also increase the risk for plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis was once thought to be caused by heel spurs, which are small calcifications in the foot. Research has found that this theory lacks evidence; however, up to one-half of patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis may have heel spurs.

Related Terms

Calcaneal periostitis, calcaneodynia, contracture of plantar fascia, heel pain, heel spur syndrome, heel spurs, jogger's heel, painful heel syndrome, plantar fascial fibromatosis, plantar fasciosis, policeman's heel, runner's heel, subcalcaneal pain, tennis heel.