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What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

The feet are the foundation on which the body stands, which is why plantar fasciitis can be a problem. Many people experience pain in the bottom of the heel that can make it difficult to walk. However, the good news is that it can be treated.


Over 2 million people are treated for this condition each year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This is a common ailment in which the plantar fascia ligament that helps support the foot becomes inflamed and irritated. This ligament is meant to absorb shock and impact from movements, but excessive pressure can damage the tissue leading to stiffness and pain. There are both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available.


For any individual feeling the pain associated with this condition, a visit to the doctor is recommended. A doctor will need to perform an examination to determine if the pain is because of plantar fasciitis or another condition. During the exam, the doctor will look for common symptoms, push on the plantar fascia ligament to test pain and ask the patient to flex the foot. Understanding what signs to look for can help individuals determine if a doctor visit is necessary, and to also be prepared for the treatment.


The most common sign of plantar fasciitis is stiffness and pain in the heel and along the bottom of the foot. This can be increased after long periods of rest, such as sleeping or sitting down, as well as after exercise. The pain and stiffness can be a result of the high impact activities such as running, tight calf muscles, an increase in physical activity, high arches and even obesity.


There are many different treatment options for plantar fasciitis that help with the pain and help decrease the strain on the ligament. The AAOS states that after 10 months of beginning treatment, 90% of people experienced less pain, which gives hope to those who also suffer from this condition. To reduce the tension of the ligament and the pain, podiatry professionals recommend that individuals follow this regimen:

Surgery is only an option for plantar fasciitis after a year of continuous nonsurgical treatment has been adhered to and provided no relief. There are two possible surgeries. The first lengthens the calf muscle to reduce strain on the plantar fascia ligament, while the second partially cuts the ligament to lessen the stress on it. However, it is recommended that individuals complete the other treatment options first.


If you experience pain in your heel or bottom of the foot, it may be time to visit a doctor for an examination. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that does not heal by itself and requires treatment to help ease the pain associated with the stressed and stiff ligament. Overall health includes taking care of the whole body, even the feet.

Request an appointment here: or call Leonard Greenwald, D.P.M. at (408) 827-9483 for an appointment in our San Jose office.

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