Plantar fasciitis is among the most common causes of foot pain. It occurs when the thick band of connective tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, known as the plantar fascia, degenerates, causing a sharp pain that is worst when you wake up in the morning and which may temporarily go away as your foot warms up and becomes more limber; the pain may return if you sit for long periods of time. Runners are at a particularly high risk of plantar fasciitis, especially those who are overweight or pregnant, or whose footwear fits improperly or does not provide sufficient support. Other sports that can cause plantar fasciitis include those that require running and jumping, such as basketball or ballet dancing.
First-line treatment of plantar fasciitis consists of resting the affected foot, icing it, stretching the plantar fascia, and using tape or a brace to support the plantar fascia and remove any strain that might be placed on it during everyday activities. You might also consider a night splint to support your foot.
If the pain doesn’t go away or gets worse, you should see a sports medicine professional. To make sure plantar fasciitis is really what’s causing your pain, he or she may recommend sports massage, physical therapy and store-bought or custom-made orthotics for your athletic shoes so they support your feet properly and promote healing. If all else fails, surgery may be necessary to lengthen or detach the plantar fascia.
To prevent plantar fasciitis or its recurrence, increase mileage gradually, keep your plantar fascia limber by stretching out the foot, and make sure your footwear provides proper support.