Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain for which professional care is sought. It is caused by irritation of the plantar fascia, a thickened fibrous band that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. This band pulls on the heel bone, raising the arch of the foot as it pushes off the ground. If the feet move incorrectly, the plantar fascia may become irritated and swell, causing plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is made up of three distinct parts: the medial, central and lateral bands. The central plantar fascia is the thickest and strongest section, and this segment is also the most likely to be involved with plantar fasciitis.
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain at the bottom of the foot, first thing in the morning or after prolonged sitting. It may lessen after walking, but returns with continued activity.