Your feet. Are they are friends who help you walk, run, jump, high step, and dance or are they painful and complaining threatening you if even think about walking around on them?
Perhaps sometimes they feel fine, but then you add some extra activity one day, and then you wake up with your feet stiff and sore. And that stiffness and soreness starts showing up every morning!
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The Plantar Fascia is a strip of connective tissue that connects the heel of your foot with your toes and plantar fasciitis is a painful problem, irritation, with that plantar fascia. If we look at little deeper at the plantar fascia, we see that it is a dense, fibrous band that serves as a bio-mechanical stabilizer providing structural support for the arches of the feet. It is also a protector to the vulnerable neurovascular structures on the plantar aspect, or sole, of the foot.
Microscopic examination of this fascia (in symptomatic individuals) often reveals degenerative changes in the collagen fibers that give this structure its strength. Surprisingly, these investigations often fail to find inflammatory signs that would be expected leading many, myself included, to believe it should really be called plantar fasciosis, as the term ‘itis’ denotes inflammation.
This pain is usually most severe with the first steps of the day or following a period of rest. Most patients I see with plantar fasciitis have it only on one foot, but approximately 20-30% experiences it on both feet. I have treated teenage athletes to grandmothers with plantar fasciitis, yet the majority of patients who develop this problem are over the age of 40. Maybe the most interesting aspect of plantar fasciitis is that the symptoms sneaks up on many people as the pain and symptoms usually come on gradually.
Most cases of plantar fasciitis resolve with time and rest. However, if time (a couple of weeks) and rest has not resolved your symptoms, it is time to start some conservative non-invasive strategies.