Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. It is caused by repeated strain on the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes, supporting the arch of the foot. A strained plantar fascia causes weakness, swelling, and inflammation, especially in one or both heels.
You have a greater chance of developing plantar fasciitis if you:
- Are middle-aged or older.
- Walk with an inward twist or roll of the foot (pronation ) or have high arches or flat feet.
- Are overweight or suddenly gain a lot of weight.
- Have tight Achilles tendons (which attach the calf muscles to the heel bones) or tight calf muscles.
- Have habits or participate in activities that increase the stress on your feet, such as:
- Wearing shoes with poor cushioning.
- Walking or running without being conditioned for these activities.
- Changing your walking or running surface (for example, from grass to concrete).
- Having a job that involves prolonged standing on hard surfaces.
- Are an athlete or a member of the military.
Surgery is usually not needed for plantar fasciitis. About 95 out of 100 people who have plantar fasciitis are able to relieve heel pain without surgery. Your doctor may consider surgery if nonsurgical treatment has not helped and heel pain is restricting your daily activities. Some doctors feel that you should try nonsurgical treatment for at least 6 months before you consider surgery.