Foot Pain

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms and Signs

Plantar fasciitis causes pain and tenderness of the bottom of the foot. The tenderness is usually toward the heel, but the entire sole of the foot can be affected. A sign of abnormal tension or tightness that can lead to plantar fasciitis is a bony prominence (heel spur) that develops where the inflamed plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus).

How is the foot designed?

The foot is an intricate structure of 26 bones, 33 joints, multiple muscles, tendons, blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatics. The bones form two crossing arches of the foot. The longitudinal arch runs the length of the foot, and the transverse arch runs the width. The ankle joint is formed by the interaction of the foot and the lower leg, and the toes are on the far side of the foot. The bones of the foot are primarily held together by their fit with each other forming joints surrounded by joint capsules and connected by fibrous tissues known as ligaments. The muscles of the foot, along with a tough, sinewy tissue known as the plantar fascia, provide secondary support to the foot. The foot has internal muscles that originate and insert in the foot and external muscles that begin in the lower leg and attach in various places on the bones of the foot. There are also fat pads in the foot to help with weight-bearing and absorbing impact.

Picture of the metatarsal (foot) and calcaneus (heel) bones, the plantar fascia ligament, and the Achilles tendon of the lower leg and foot
Picture of the metatarsal (foot) and calcaneus (heel) bones, the plantar fascia ligament, and the Achilles tendon of the lower leg and foot

The foot is the foundation of movement of the lower extremity. Pain in the foot indicates that there is something wrong with either the interaction of internal structures of the foot or with how the foot is interacting with external influences. How and when the pain occurs and the locations of the pain are the primary clues to what may be causing the pain. When there is pain, the body reacts by changing the way it moves or functions in an effort to reduce the pain. These compensations or biomechanical changes may prevent the normal movement and cause further injury in the foot and/or other parts of the body. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 1/8/2016
Foot Pictures Slideshow: Common Foot Pain Problems

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