Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition characterized by heel pain and pain in your plantar fascia—a strong and dense connective tissue structure on the sole of your foot that supports your foot arch. Active men between the ages of 40 and 70 are most commonly affected by this health problem.
Your plantar fascia ligament helps the bones of your foot absorb gait-related shock. It also holds your toes firmly on the ground as your body passes over your foot. Plantar fasciitis can manifest in people who possess either flat feet or feet with high arches, and it most commonly causes pain in the heel bone.
Causes and Symptoms
Inappropriate footwear is the No. 1 cause of plantar fasciitis. Footwear that possesses toe spring and a tapered toe box holds your big toe in an extended position. In this position, your abductor hallucis muscle—the muscle responsible for moving your big toe away from your foot’s midline—pulls on the foot and may restrict blood flow. Tissues in the sole of your feet begin to degenerate as blood supply to this area is decreased.
Other recognized causes of or contributors to this health problem include the following:
Calf muscle shortening
Other common signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Mild swelling and redness in your affected area
- Tenderness on the bottom of your heel
- Impaired ability to ambulate
Shoe therapy—finding and wearing shoes that allow your feet to be in their natural position—is the most important treatment for plantar fasciitis. Shoes that possess a flat heel, are wide in the toe box, lack toe spring, and have flexible soles are most appropriate for this foot problem.