What is Chronic Plantar Fasciitis?

The term Chronic Plantar Fasciitis refers to the syndrome of heel pain with tenderness in the under surface of the heel at the point of insertion of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the strong band of tissue that runs between the heel bone and the ball of the foot. The term "plantar" refers to the sole of the foot and "fasciitis" refers to the inflammation of the fascia. The inflammation is thought to occur when the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal limits, causing microtears and inflammation to the soft tissue fibers of the heel, especially upon walking following periods of inactivity, such as the first few steps after waking. The body’s attempt to repair these tears may lead to chronic inflammation and chronic pain.

Chronic Plantar Fasciitis is probably the most common cause of heel pain seen by podiatric and orthopedic surgeons. It has been reported that up to 9% of all running injuries are diagnosed as Chronic Plantar Fasciitis and that 14% of adult Americans suffer from complaints of heel pain.

Symptoms of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis.

The most common symptom is a sharp pain or ache in the bottom of the heel especially in the morning or following periods of inactivity. The pain may decrease in intensity after a few minutes of walking but also may persist throughout the day. The pain at its mildest may just be an annoyance that causes limping, but at its worst may hurt so much that the individual becomes inactive to avoid the pain.

Causes of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis.

Injury to the Plantar Fascia may be caused by many factors, such as:
  1. An increase in activity such as running or walking, resulting in overuse of the plantar fascia
  2. Lack of strength and flexibility in the ankle and foot, especially calf muscle tightness
  3. Excessive weight or recent weight gain
  4. Improperly fitting shoes and shoes that lack sufficient cushioning to absorb shock and arch support
Walking on hard surface flooring may be a contributing factor, especially if there is insufficient cushioning of the heel.