Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition within the foot which causes stabbing, burning pain in the heel area. Many times, people who suffer from plantar fasciitis feel the most pain early in the morning, or after any activity that involves running or jogging.
The pain that is felt with plantar fasciitis is due to swelling of a tissue which connects the heel bone to the toes. This tissue, which is called the plantar fascia, is found on the bottom of your foot. Overnight, or during periods of inactivity such as time spent at a desk job, the plantar fascia tissue tightens up, causing pain when a person stands up and mobilizes. This pain is generally reduced as the person moves around.
Signs of Plantar Fasciitis
- Plantar fasciitis can occur in both feet at the same time, but generally occurs only in one foot.
- Sharp pains in middle of bottom of heel. The pain will feel like stabbing.
- Worst pain is felt when stepping after lengthy immobility, including after sleep, as well as when stretching the bottom of the foot by tip-toeing or climbing.
- Pain is felt after exercise, but rarely during exercise, unless bottom of foot is being stretched.
- A small amount of swelling in the heel.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
The pain and inflammation experienced with plantar fasciitis is caused by repetitive tearing of the plantar fascia tissue. Some things which can cause or contribute to this tearing include:
- Weight gain
- Overdoing physical activities, particularly running and climbing.
- Chronic conditions such as arthritis and diabetes have been shown to increase risks of plantar fasciitis.
- Walking incorrectly or having an abnormally shaped foot.
- Wearing shoes without the proper support.
The heel spur (or calcaneal spur) is a nail-like growth of calcium around the ligaments and tendons of the foot where they attach to the heel bone. The spur grows from the bone and into the flesh of the foot. About 70 percent of patients with plantar fasciitis have a heel spur that can be seen on an X-ray. A spur may develop when the ligament that connects the heel bone to the bones in the toes (plantar fascia) becomes inflamed. This strong and tight tissue helps maintain the arch of the foot. It is also one of the major transmitters of weight across the foot as you walk or run.
Because of proximity to the tendons, the spur is a source of continuous painful aching. The sensation has been described as "a toothache in the foot," usually characterized by a sharp poking and is localized to the heel or under the heel. Aching pain can become very severe and inflammation and bruising can also occur. When taking a step or when putting pressure on the heel, pain can escalate, particularly after prolonged periods of rest like the first step after getting out of bed in the morning. When you place your weight on the heel, the pain can be sufficient to immobilize you.
Heel spurs are common in patients who have a history of foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Although heel spurs are most often seen in middle-aged men and women, they can be found in all age groups. Spurs can begin to form as a result of obesity or sudden weight gain, such as during pregnancy, which can place continuous and excessive weight on the heel of the foot. Another common cause of heel spurs is wearing ill-fitting shoes that don’t properly support the heel and other important areas of the foot. Pronation, the abnormal motion and misalignment of the foot, can also contribute to this condition. With excessive pronation, the plantar fascia, which is a bow-like ligament along the bottom of the foot, could be stretched and forced to pull away from the heel bone, contributing to the development of a spur. Other causes of heel spurs may be attributed to gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Neuromas are growths that can develop throughout certain parts of the body, and they are benign, which means they are not cancer. Morton’s Neuroma, in particular, is a neuroma that develops in the foot. There are nerves that run from the heels and feet to the toes, and Morton’s Neuroma occurs when the tissue around one or more of these nerves thickens.
The symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma include burning pain centralized in the balls of the feet, as well as feelings of stinging or burning in the toes, and even numbness to the feet or toes. Although medical science has found a link between Morton’s Neuroma and certain injuries and pressures to the foot, there are also cases of Morton’s Neuroma that develop without any known reason. When Morton’s Neuroma first develops, the pain may only be felt during times of activity or when wearing certain shoes. If left untreated, however, Morton’s Neuroma can develop into a consistently painful condition.
We highly recommend our Liquid Orthotics to relieve metatarsal pain from Mortons Neuroma
Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation or irritation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon in the back of the ankle that attaches to the heel also known as the calcaneus. Extreme activity will cause tiny tears on the Achilles tendon, these tiny tears are what cause irritation and pain.
Common Causes of Achilles Tendinitis
- Recent change in foot wear
- An increase in exercising or sports that involve repeat jumping
- More common among middle aged men and women who are more active typically distance runners and walkers.
- Frequent up hill walking or running
- Athletes participating in activities that involve a lot of running and quick movements or fast starts and stops.
- Pronation - See description below
We highly recommend a Night Splint for Achilles Tendinitis