What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Your foot has thick, fibrous band of tissue (''fascia'') reaching from your heel to your toes. These tissues support the muscles and arch of the foot. When they’re overly stretched, tiny tears can occur in their surface. This can cause pain and inflammation.

Doctors once thought this type of pain was caused by bony growths called heel spurs. Now they believe that heel spurs are the result -- not the cause -- of pain from plantar fasciitis.

What Causes It?

A number of things can contribute to plantar fasciitis. While men can get plantar fasciitis, it’s more common in women. You're also more likely to suffer from this condition as you age or if you’re overweight or on your feet for several hours a day.

Your risk also increases if you:

  • Wear worn-out shoes with thin soles
  • Have flat feet or a very high arch
  • Often wear high-heeled shoes
  • Have tight Achilles tendons, or “heel cords”
  • Have an unusual walk or foot position
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on March 23, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians.

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Mayo Clinic: “Plantar Fasciitis.”

American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society: “Plantar Fasciitis.”

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