Plantar fasciitis is a condition causing heel pain. Supporting the arch, the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue connecting the heel to the ball of the foot, can become inflamed or can tear. You experience pain when you put weight on your foot—particularly when taking your first steps in the morning. The pain can be felt at the heel, or along the arch and the ball of the foot.

Treatment generally reduces pain and restores your ability to put weight on your foot again.

The sole of the foot is referred to as the plantar area. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic local inflammation of the “bowstring-like” ligament stretching underneath the sole, also referred to as the plantar fascia, that attaches at the heel.

Plantar fasciitis (inflammation to the plantar fascia ligament) is most commonly caused by strain injury causing micro tears to the ligament as it attaches to the heel bone or other areas of tightness on the sole of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition. It occurs in as many as 2 million Americans per year and 10% of the population over their lifetimes.

Factors that contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Age (over 40 years)
  • A job, sport, or hobby that involves prolonged standing or other weight-bearing activity
  • Rapid increases in length or levels of activity, such as beginning a new running program or changing to a job that requires a lot more standing or walking than you are accustomed to
  • Decreased calf muscle flexibility
  • Increased body weight (Body Mass Index greater than 30)
  • Tendency to have a flat foot (pronation)

Plantar fasciitis affects people of all ages, both athletes and non-athletes. Men and women have an equal chance of developing the condition.