What is Plantar Fasciitis

Dr. Corey Fox
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Director of Massapequa Podiatry Associates

Whereas some people are able to spring right out of bed in the morning, waking up is a battle for the other half of the population. Snooze buttons are hit countless times. Caffeine is needed in short order. And it’s best to stay out of their way until around 10:00 (noon, if you want to be especially safe).

No matter in which camp you find yourself—early bird or night owl—waking is an unpleasant experience when you know you’re going to have sharp heel pain with your first steps of the day!

Effects of Plantar FasciitisIf you’ve ever wondered what plantar fasciitis is (although, we prefer to use the term “plantar fasciopathy” because it’s more accurate), that pain on the underside of your heel is the key symptom. In addition to location, timing of the pain is also important in recognizing this condition. For reasons we’ll explain shortly, you will feel the sharp or stabbing sensation when you take steps following an extended period of rest or inactivity – like a night’s sleep. In addition to sleep or rest, this can also happen if you stand in one place for a long time at work.

This common source of heel pain can be attributed to a connective tissue that bridges the back and front of the foot. Your plantar fascia runs along the bottom of the foot and is anchored to the bottom of the heel bone (calcaneus). The tissue is rather durable, but when subjected to frequent or intense stress, tiny tears can develop in the fascia.

Given the body’s natural propensity for healing itself, the fascia starts to mend during those periods of downtime (especially overnight). When you take steps before the damaged tissue is healed, the tears rip back open, which leads to inflammation and the sharp pain you feel. In addition to inflammation, there can be degeneration in the plantar fascia (which is why we use the term “fasciopathy”).

As you start to walk around throughout the day, the pain may subside, but don’t make the mistake of thinking the condition is improved. Performing your normal activities—especially if you exercise on a regular basis—doesn’t allow the tissue to heal, and can actually lead to further damage. Instead, you need to make sure you have a treatment plan in place. The good news is we can help!

Most cases of plantar fasciitis can be treated with conservative care. This means the customized treatment plan we create for you will not likely entail surgery. Surgical procedures are sometimes used to address the issue, but this tends to be rare and only needed for severe cases.

For more information on this, and other sources of heel pain, take a moment right now and request your FREE copy of our book – Heal Your Heel Pain: A Guide to Understanding Its Causes and Treatments. Simply fill out the online form here and we will send you a copy with no additional obligation on your end. If you have any questions, or need to request an appointment with Massapequa Podiatry Associates, give us a call at (516) 541-9000. You can also contact us online right now.
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