Plantar fasciitis is considered the most common cause of pain along the bottom of the heel. The plantar fascia is a ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot, supporting the arch and connecting the heel to the front of the foot. Fasciitis occurs when the ligament becomes irritated and inflamed. Runners, and people with high arches or tight calves, have an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the foot, close to the heel, especially after getting out of bed in the morning. Patients report that pain often worsens after exercise.
The vast majority of cases can be treated non-surgically with methods such as:
- supportive shoes/orthotics
- physical therapy
- anti-inflammatory medication
- cortisone injections
Surgery is considered only after more conservative options fail to produce results. Typical surgical options include lengthening the calf muscles or plantar fascia release (partially cutting the ligament).