Plantar Fasciitis is the Most Common Cause of Heel Pain


I started suffering from mysterious heel pain one year ago after I started T25 (plyometrics) and ramping up my running. The combination of upping my miles, and intense high-impact cardio for 25 minutes a day, was apparently more than my plantar fascia could handle. I had been stricken with Plantar Fasciitis. OUCH.

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. It it also a common affliction for runners, which is why it’s often referred to as ‘Runner’s Heel.’ The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects your toes to your heel bone, while supporting your arch. Plantar fasciitis is estimated to affect 1 in 10 people at some point during their lifetime and most commonly affects people between 40–60 years of age.

Plantar fasciitis is a common, painful foot condition. Patients, and sometimes doctors often confuse the terms plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Plantar fasciitis refers to the syndrome of inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from the heel along the arch of the foot; a heel spur is a hook of bone that can form on the heel bone (calcaneus). What started a small burning sensation in my heels, soon blossomed into an unbearable, debilitating heel pain. And yeah, I was lucky enough to get it in BOTH feet.

For the first few weeks, I ignored it, thinking it would go away. I then reached out to a friend who had suffered from PF, and visited her recommended chiropractor. He adjusted my hips, massaged my feet, and used ultrasound therapy on my heels. He even sold me a TENS unit to use at home. I saw him for a few weeks, always walking out of his office mostly pain-free. But by the next day, the pain had returned.

From the chiro, I moved on to an orthopedic surgeon, who took x-rays to rule out heel spurs and stress fractures, and physical therapy. While the PT didn’t completely heal my heels, it did put me on the road to recovery, and that combined with a few other things has finally put me back at about 95%. Some mornings my first few steps are stiff, but no longer painful, and after I’ve been moving for a few minutes, I’m fine.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

The causes of PF are numerous and often very different for each sufferer. Here are some of the main things that can trigger PF.

  1. Being overweight
  2. High arches, or flat feet
  3. Tight achilles, or calf muscles
  4. Over pronation (feel roll inward)
  5. Shoes that don’t provide enough support (flip flops, sandals, ill-fitting tennis shoes)
  6. Standing, walking, running on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time
  7. Ramping up exercise too quickly.

If you think you might have PF, I recommend starting with a trip to the orthopedic doctor to rule out anything else, and get a firm diagnosis. And do it right away! Don’t wait like I did, hoping it will go away, because the longer you wait the worse it can get.

Stay tuned for my next post: Top 14 ways to get rid of Plantar Fasciitis! I’m almost completely healed, and I’ve tried just about everything to get to this point, so I’ll share my many experiences with you!

If you’re interested in Starting Running Now, check out our series and make sure you start slow to avoid injuries!

Check out our Plantar Fasciitis Pinterest Board for more resources and information.

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