Plantar Fasciitis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Philip A. Radovic, DPM, FACFAS
    Philip A. Radovic, DPM, FACFAS

    Philip A. Radovic, DPM, FACFAS

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Foot injury

What causes foot pain?

A sprain of the foot or ankle occurs when ligaments that hold the bones together are overstretched and their fibers tear or stretch too far. The looseness of ligaments in the joints of the foot may lead to chronic foot pain and deformity. Repeated overstressing of the same structure of the foot may cause

  • stress fractures,
  • tendonitis,
  • plantar fasciitis, and
  • acute and chronic osteoarthritis

Plantar fasciitis facts

  • Plantar fasciitis (inflammation to the plantar fascia ligament) is most commonly caused by strain injury causing micro tears to the ligament as it attaches to the heel bone or other areas of tightness on the sole of the foot.
  • The plantar fascia is the largest ligament in the human body.
  • The main symptoms of plantar fasciitis include
  • Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed based on the history of the condition as well as the physical examination.
  • Plantar fasciitis can occur alone or be related to underlying diseases.
  • Plantar fasciitis is treated by measures that decrease the associated inflammation and avoid reinjury.
  • Plantar fasciitis is commonly mistaken for Baxter's neuritis, which is a nerve entrapment in the heel.
  • Chronic plantar fasciitis (over one year) can become plantar fasciosis due to avascular scarring of the plantar fascia. It is painful due to poor blood supply to the scarred tissues and is resistant to treatment that reduce inflammation typically applied for plantar fasciitis.

What is plantar fasciitis?

The sole of the foot is referred to as the plantar area. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic local inflammation of the "bowstring-like" ligament stretching underneath the sole, also referred to as the plantar fascia, that attaches at the heel.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is most commonly caused by repetitive strain injury to the ligament of the sole of the foot. Such strain injury can be from excessive running or walking, inadequate foot gear, and jumping injury from landing. Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by certain diseases, including reactive arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/23/2016

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