Where exactly is the plantar fascia?
This diagram shows the position of the plantar fascia in relation to the bones in the foot. Inflammation of this band of tissue causes the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. ('-itis' is the medical term for inflammation).
What symptoms does inflammation of the plantar fascia cause?
Pain is the main symptom. You can imagine how the inflamed plantar fascia can hurt when you put pressure on the foot while walking. This pain can be anywhere on the underside of your heel. However, commonly, one spot is found as the main source of pain. This is often about 4 cm forward from your heel and may be tender to touch.
The pain is often worst when you take your first steps on getting up in the morning, or after long periods of rest where no weight is placed on your foot. Often, it's described as a stabbing or aching pain. Gentle exercise may ease things a little as the day goes by. However, a long walk or being on your feet for a long time often makes the pain worse. Resting your foot usually eases the pain - this can be very frustrating for people who are trying to improve their fitness levels by taking up running!
Sudden stretching of the sole of your foot may make the pain worse - for example, walking up stairs or on tiptoes. You may limp because of pain. Some people have plantar fasciitis in both feet at the same time.
Did you find this information useful?
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory plantar fasciitis; NICE Interventional Procedure Guidance, August 2009
- Plantar fasciitis; NICE CKS, June 2015 (UK access only)
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