What is plantar fasciitis? Get to know the symptoms and treatments

Few things are more debilitating than foot pain. The ability to walk effortlessly and comfortably is easy to take for granted, but individuals who have experienced the common foot condition known as plantar fasciitis appreciate just how nice pain-free walking can be.

Sometimes called “policeman’s heel” because of how often police officers are on their feet, plantar fasciitis is the most commonly treated foot condition,” says Stephen Dering, an orthopedic clinical specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

It also commonly affects runners and other athletes, hairdressers, mailmen, surgeons, tour guides, foodservice and hospitality industry workers – anyone who is on their feet a lot. It even affects many people who are not, particularly those aged 50 and older.

What is plantar fasciitis? 

The plantar fascia is a long, thick ligament that runs along the sole of the foot. It connects the heel to the front of the foot and is critical in maintaining arch support. “The plantar fascia is cartilage that sustains the foot’s arch, like a bowstring,” explains Dr. Loren Fishman, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Columbia University.

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