Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a thick, fibrous ligament in the arch of the foot called the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia attaches into the heel bone and fans out toward the ball of the foot, attaching into the base of the toes. If this ligament is stretched excessively it will become inflamed and begin to cause pain. Sports such as tennis, racket ball, and aerobics can cause extreme tension on the plantar fascia resulting in small tears or rupture of the ligament. However, other less stressful activities can result in tears or rupture of the plantar fascia under the right set of circumstances. One consequence of small tears in the plantar fascia is the formation of firm nodules within the plantar fascia, called fibromas.
The main emphasis of treatment is to reduce the forces that are causing the plantar fascia to stretch excessively. This condition can usually be successfully treated with conservative measures such as use of anti-inflammatory medications, ice packs, stretching exercises, orthotic devices, and physical therapy.