Where Does Heel Pain Come From?
Plantar fasciitis can occur for several reasons which all cause the plantar fascia to over stretch or tear. The first being an excessive amount of weight gain over a relatively short period of time. The second is caused by walking or running without proper support in the arch. People that decide to suddenly exercise after being sedentary or “weekend warrior syndrome” often develop this problem. The third reason is trauma or injury from a hard object pressing into the arch or heel or from jumping from a height. The majority of patients that suffer from plantar fasciitis have some type of biomechanical imbalance often combined with flat feet or high arch feet. With either foot type, it is usually the excessive turning in of the ankle/foot (pronation) that most patients with this problem share in common.
The Anatomy of Heels
The plantar fascia is a flat ligament like structure in your arch that separates your skin from the muscles of your foot. It runs from your heel bone to the balls of your feet. Its original design was to protect the muscles of your foot from being damaged when our ancestors once walked barefooted. We have a similar ligament in the palms of our hands known as the palmar fascia. This is also a protective structure for our hands. In addition, the plantar fascia also acts to raise your arch when your heel leaves the ground while walking. Plantar fasciitis is caused by the minute tearing of the plantar fascia. This tearing can be the result of trauma or from poor foot biomechanics. This tearing usually occurs were the fascia attaches to the heel bone thus causing heel pain. The repeated tearing and healing of this ligament will cause bone spurs to form thus causing what is know as heel spur syndrome.