Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel. Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel, pain with the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning or after a long period of rest, and an increase in pain after (not during) physical activity.

Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick, fibrous band that runs along the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia is critical in maintaining the foot’s complex arch system and is designed to absorb the high stresses we place on our feet. It also plays a role in balance and fine control of certain phases of the athlete’s gait.

When too much pressure damages or tears the tissues inflammation follows, which results in heel pain and stiffness. The pressure can occur from a direct, acute injury to the plantar fascia, however it more typically develops from repeated trauma to the tissue resulting from high arches, uneven leg length, improper biomechanics, or overuse. The tissue damage usually occurs where the fascia attaches to the calcaneus (heel bone).