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12 Surprising Facts About Plantar Fasciitis

Myths about plantar fasciitis ~ Dr. Angela Walk

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot heel pain and sadly, there is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there about how to effectively correct the condition.

Endlessly stretching your calf muscles, getting a cortisone shot, or icing with a frozen water bottle might bring you short-term relief, but these remedies aren't addressing the root cause.

I specialize in foot and gait mechanics and I have treated hundreds of cases of plantar fasciitis. My goal is to arm you with the latest knowledge about the condition so that you can return be free of the pain and return to the activities you love.

Before I list the 12 most compelling facts about plantar fasciitis, let's first define plantar fasciitis.

Dr. Angela Walk

The Plantar Fasciitis Doc

Specializing in Foot & Gait Mechanics

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of foot and heel pain. It involves a break down, or degeneration of the collagen fibers in the plantar fascia, a thick, fibrous band that runs from your heel to your forefoot.

Symptoms include pain at the inside portion of the heel that is worse after prolonged periods of rest and with the first steps in the morning.

The most common causes of plantar fasciitis are wearing footwear that narrows at the toe, a weak foot core, and calf inflexibility.

Plantar fasciitis is already so painful the last thing you want to do is make it worse. Hopefully, these 12 facts will offer insight into the common causes and give you the knowledge you need to help resolve your pain.

Now, let's take a look at 12 surprising facts about plantar fasciitis.

1. Improper Footwear Is The Main Cause of Plantar Fasciitis

Best shoes for plantar fasciitis ~ Dr. Angela Walk

Most cases of plantar fasciitis develop as a result of wearing ill-fitting footwear that narrows or tapers at the toe. This damaging feature, along with heel elevation, prevents our feet from functioning normally.

Our feet and toes should spread and splay as we walk and run. If our feet are crowded into shoes with a narrow toe box, our feet begin to weaken. The small intrinsic muscles of our feet (our foot core) will atrophy overtime and sets us up for plantar fasciitis.

I recommend footwear that is widest at the toe, has no elevation of the heel (zero drop) and has a thin sole without heavy cushioning.

2. One In Ten People Will Develop Plantar Fasciitis

It's more common than you might think. It has been determined that about 10% of the population will suffer from plantar fasciitis at some point during their lifetime. That’s a lot of people!

3. Calf Tightness Is A Primary Cause of Plantar Fasciitis

People with plantar fasciitis typically have inflexibility of their calf muscles. This creates difficulty with with dorsiflexion of the ankle. That’s the movement in which the foot is brought toward the shin.

If your calf muscle group is restricted in movement your ankles lose normal mobility during our walking and running gaits.

This leads added stress on parts of the body that were not designed to withstand such pressure, especially the plantar fascia. Overtime, the fascia becomes strained and injury occurs.

3. Plantar Fasciitis Is NOT An Inflammatory Condition

plantar fasciosis vs. plantar fasciitis ~ Dr. Angela Walk

Within the last decade, studies have observed microscopic anatomical changes indicating that plantar fasciitis is due to a non-inflammatory structural breakdown or degeneration of the plantar fascia rather than an inflammatory process.

It is more of a repetitive strain that causes microtears in the soft tissues. Since inflammation plays either a lesser or no role, a review proposed it be renamed plantar fasciosis in light of these newer findings.

4. Age Is A Factor In Plantar Fasciitis

The age group most likely to be struck by Plantar Fasciitis is those between 40-60 years of age. In part, that’s because the tissue in the foot starts losing elasticity as we age!

5. A Weak Foot Core Is A Primary Cause Of Plantar Fasciitis

Towel grab for weak intrinsic foot muscles for plantar fasciitis ~ Dr. Angela Walk

The smaller muscles of the foot and arch often are weak and contribute to poor foot mechanics. When these muscles are weak, your foot will start to rely too much on surrounding musculature – including the plantar fascia. It's critical to strengthen these weak muscles to truly heal from plantar fasciitis.

6. The Plantar Fascia Ligament Is I