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What is Plantar Fasciitis? How do I know if I have it?

Plantar fasciitis causes pain in the bottom of the heel. It stems from the plantar fascia which is a thick, weblike ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot and helps you walk.

Unfortunately, this painful condition is one of the most common orthopedic complaints. This is often down to that fact that the plantar fascia ligaments experience a lot of wear and tear in your daily life – especially so if you’re more active or on your feet more than most. Normally, these ligaments act as shock absorbers, supporting the arch of the foot but too much pressure on your feet can damage or tear the ligaments. This is then when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, and it’s the inflammation that causes heel pain and stiffness.

The most common complaint of people with plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the heel, but some will experience pain at the bottom mid-foot area. This won’t come on overnight but instead develops gradually over time. It usually affects just one foot, but it can affect both feet. The type of pain people experience does very with some people describing the pain as dull, while others experience a sharp pain. Additionally, some people will feel a burning or ache on the bottom of the foot extending outward from the heel.

The pain is usually at its worst in the morning when you take your first steps out of bed, or if you’ve been sitting or lying down for a little while. Climbing stairs can also be difficult due to heel stiffness. After prolonged activity, either from exercise or standing for a sustained period of time, the pain can flare up due to increased inflammation. More often than not, the pain isn’t felt during the activity but rather just after stopping.

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