Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a medical condition which is one of the most common causes of heel pain. This condition causes pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia. The tissue runs across the bottom of your foot and its major function is to connect the heel bone to the toes.

This disorder is also known as plantar fasciosis or jogger’s heel. The pain in the heel and the bottom of the foot makes the person suffering from this disorder require support and comfortable insoles while walking.

The exact cause of plantar fasciitis is yet to be discovered. The people involved with research have come up with certain conclusions regarding the causes of this painful disorder; however, precise causes are yet to be found. Researchers have included long periods of standing, too much exercise, obesity and lack of exercise as risk factors for this disorder.

It’s most common in runners, those wearing shoes with minimum support and obese people who put too much pressure on their legs. The condition has found to cause the most severe pain while taking the first steps after sleeping or any prolonged rest.

Plantar fasciitis appears with significant symptoms which are easy to determine. You can figure out if you are suffering from this medical condition by keeping these in mind.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

  • The classic symptom of plantar fasciitis is severe pain in the heels. The pain is worst with the first steps in the morning and gradually decreases with the next few steps, although it worsens again as the day progresses
  • The pain is most severe while climbing stairs or standing just on your toes. Basically, any activity that causes your plantar fascia tissue to stretch will maximize the pain
  • You will feel comfortable while standing for long periods. The pain will start as a simple twitch then slowly intensify as you continue to stand
  • It will be painful to begin your workout routine. The pain might decrease or completely go away as you continue to exercise, but it will start getting worse again once your body starts to cool down

These symptoms are present in other diseases, too, which might cause mistaking the disorder for others such as arthritis or tarsal tunnel syndrome (a nerve-related problem).

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

The specific causes of plantar fasciitis are yet to be understood. This disorder is characterized by micro-tears, the breakdown of collagen and scarring. The diagnosis of this disorder is mainly based on its signs and symptoms, although an ultrasound is also performed to be sure.

Researchers have discovered that between 4% to 7% people experience heel pain at any given time, amongst which 80% of the cases are due to plantar fasciitis. The problem is seen to be more common with age, but there isn’t any precise information regarding which age group or gender is most likely to be affected.

Normally, your plantar fascia, the thick tissue between your heel and toes, works as a supporting mechanism and shock-absorbing bowstring in your foot. When this tension becomes too great on your foot, the muscle tissue might tear under the strain.

The repeated stress on your plantar fascia makes it weak and might cause repeated tears. These tears occur when there is too much strain on the tissue, or, in other words, when the plantar fasciitis is made to stretch too much. As a result, the plantar fascia can swell, become weak and cause pain while you’re walking or simply standing for too long.

Although causes of this disorder are yet to be discovered, the conditions or risk factors that may lead to plantar fasciitis have been identified as he following:

  • Biomechanical factors. The way your feet work also affects the chances of plantar fasciitis. These include flat feet, tight calf muscles, tight tendons at the back of the heel (also known as Achilles tendons), abnormal inward twisting or rolling of the foot (pronation)
  • Repetitive activities such as standing or walking for a long period of time causes strain on the fascia
  • Standing on irregular surfaces or wearing shoes with no support also stretches the ligament and can lead to tears
  • Sports and exercise that puts pressure on heels such as running, ballet dancing etc could contribute to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis
  • Obesity might also lead to this disorder, as your heels will have to support too much weight. It will be especially hard on your plantar fascia
  • Ageing is another factor that might lead to this condition. It is found to be common among those in the age group 40-60
  • In rare cases, injuries could also prove catalyst for the cause of this defect


If you have been experiencing intense pain in your heels, do not hesitate to consult a doctor even though plantar fasciitis has been known to go away on its own if taken proper care of. An adequate amount of rest and minimizing the strain on your foot should be enough to heal this condition in its initial stages.

If it’s not healed on its own, you should consult a specialist and you might need to resort to various sorts of specialized treatments such as physiotherapy or exercises dedicated to its cure.

Not having your plantar fasciitis looked after might cause further damage to your feet, knees, hips and back. Causing plantar fasciitis might even be inevitable considering your job description, the sports you enjoy and various other factors; however, precautions must be taken to avoid it.

Not knowing any certain cause for this disorder is frustrating but with our current knowledge we can treat and alleviate the pain it causes.

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