ZocdocAnswersWhat is plantar fasciitis?

Question

What is plantar fasciitis?

I watch a lot of sports on TV. A lot of guys seem to be getting this thing in their feet lately. What is plantar fasciitis?

Answer

I am sure that there are exceptions to this rule, but in general any time that "itis" is added onto the end of an anatomical term (usually derived from latin), it implies that the anatomic structure is inflamed. It doesn't necessarily give any insight into what may be causing the inflammatory process. This begets the question, "what is the plantar fascia?" Plantar fascia is a thick fibrous sheet-like connective tissue aponeurosis that extends from the calcaneous (heel) to the phalanges (toes). Plantar fasciitis, like other inflammatory processes within connective tissue (ex tennis elbow) is most commonly due to overuse. For this reason it is a relatively common problem in the athletic population. In non-athletes, plantar fasciitis is associated with a high body mass index (BMI) which implies that the excess weight within this population puts stress on the plantar fascia. Milder cases of plantar fasciitis can usually be managed with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. However there are definitely worse cases that need to be managed with orthotics, and even surgery. If left untreated over a long period of time, plantar fasciitis can cause degenerative changes. I am not sure if you are suffering from symptoms of foot pain from your question, but if you are, then I would recommend making an appointment to be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist. I hope that this information is helpful.

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