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Plantar Fasciitis

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What Happens

Plantar fasciitis usually develops gradually. You may have heel pain only when you take your first steps after getting out of bed or after sitting for a long period of time. If you do not rest your feet, the pain will get worse. Other things, such as the repetitive stress of walking, standing, running, or jumping, will add to the injury, inflammation, and pain. The injured ligament may never heal completely if you are not able to stop the activity or change the condition that caused it.

As plantar fasciitis progresses:

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What Are Fallen Arches?

If you look at an adult foot from the inside, you'll usually notice an upward curve in the middle. This is called an arch. Tendons -- tight bands that attach at the heel and foot bones -- form the arch. Several tendons in your foot and lower leg work together to form the arches in your foot. When the tendons all pull the proper amount, then your foot forms a moderate, normal arch. When tendons do not pull together properly, there is little or no arch. This is called flat foot or fallen arch.

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  • The heel pain gradually gets worse.
  • You may change the way you walk to relieve the pain. This eventually may lead to more discomfort and pain and other problems with your foot, leg, hip, or back. Daily activities or sports may become even more limited.
  • You eventually may have pain with any weight-bearing activity. Running and jumping may no longer be possible.
  • A heel spur may form as a result of continued stress as the plantar fascia pulls on the heel bone. (By itself, a heel spur does not cause plantar fasciitis and does not usually cause problems. And you can have plantar fasciitis and not have a heel spur.)

If the condition is not treated, plantar fasciitis can cause constant heel pain when you stand or walk.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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