Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of foot pain, with discomfort concentrated at the heel. The problem occurs when the plantar fascia, a band of tissues on the bottom of the foot that extends from your heel to your toes, becomes inflamed. The sharp, stabbing heel pain this causes may dissipate within the first few steps taken during the day. However, the pain may return after a long period of sitting or a lengthy time on the feet.
The plantar fascia provides support for your arches and absorbs shocks while you walk or run. When these tissues are overtaxed, small tears can occur and lead to inflammation and discomfort. Advancing age and weight problems can increase the risk for this problem. Other factors that increase the chance of developing plantar fasciitis include regular engagement in fitness activities that involve running, dancing, or jumping, as these actions place more stress on your heels.
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An individual with plantar fasciitis is likely, but not always, going to experience the worst pain when they first put weight on the feet at the beginning of the day. Exercises that stretch and strengthen the plantar fascia can reduce discomfort, and choosing shoes with good arch support can also bring relief. Periods of rest are also helpful. Doctors can identify plantar fasciitis by determining where the pain in your foot is concentrated. Imaging tests are often unnecessary, but may help eliminate other possible causes of pain, like heel fractures, or a pinched or compressed nerves.
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