Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tiss) is the most common cause of pain in the bottom of the heel. It occurs when the feet's plantar fascia becomes swollen or inflamed. The plantar fascia is the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot which connects the heels to the front of the foot. It also supports the arch of the foot.
The plantar fascia acts as shock absorber against high stresses and strains placed on the feet. However, overusage and overstretching damages or tears the tissues which results to heel pain and stiffness or plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is common in runners and athletes, but it can occur in anyone and at any age. It can also happen in one or both feet.
Pain is the most common symptom of plantar fasciitis. Most people with plantar fasciitis experience pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or after sitting for a long time. Stiffness and pain may lessen after a few steps but may hurt more as the day goes by. The pain may develop slowly over time or suddenly after an intense activity.
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