Plantar Fasciitis Pain and Symptoms
Plantar fasciitis pain usually develops gradually, but it may feel as though it has happened quite suddenly. Occasionally, a person will feel a quick burst of pain right after missing a step or jumping down from a height.
While plantar fasciitis can happen at any age, 90% of the cases of plantar fasciitis pain occur after the age of 40. Why? The fascia loses some of its normal elasticity and resilience with aging and then can more easily become irritated with routine daily activities.
People with plantar fasciitis pain describe:
• An incredible pain in their heel when they take their first steps in the morning or after getting up from being seated for a while
• A sharp, stabbing heel pain
• A feeling like they are stepping on a small stone
• Pain that subsides after they’ve walked around for a while
Many times, sufferers of plantar fasciitis pain describe the pain as coming from under the heel and on the inside, at the origin of the attachment of the fascia. There can be pain when pressing on the inside of the heel and sometimes along the arch. Often, patients describe the plantar fasciitis pain as being worse first thing in the morning as the fascia tightens up overnight and then the pain might ease some after a few minutes as the foot gets warmed up. This is sometimes referred to as “first-step pain”.
Any one or even all of these symptoms could indicate plantar fasciitis.
With this condition, the pain is felt in the base of the heel and can make even everyday walking difficult.
As the condition becomes more severe, the plantar fasciitis pain can get worse throughout the day if activity continues. Stretching the plantar fascia may be painful and sometimes plantar fasciitis can cause pain along the outside border of the heel. This may occur due to offloading the painful side of the heel by walking on the outside border of the foot. It may also be associated with the high impact of landing on the outside of the heel if you have high arched feet.
If you suspect plantar fasciitis, it is always a good idea to check with a qualified health care provider.
An examination to determine the cause of your heel pain may include:
- Observation of your posture while both standing and walking
- Palpitation of the affected area including both the heel and arch of your foot
- Movement of the foot to determine your range of motion
A medical exam to determine the cause of your heel pain may also include an x-ray to rule out heel spurs or a diagnostic ultrasound to identify swelling or thickening of the plantar fascia which could help confirm a plantar fasciitis diagnosis.
It is worth noting that the majority of cases of heel pain turn out to be plantar fasciitis pain, and it is the rare patient who has an enlarged spur requiring surgery.