Plantar fasciitis seems like a pretty straightforward condition, right? If “-itis” means inflammation, plantar fasciitis would then translate to inflammation of the plantar fascia. Getting rid of the inflammation should also get rid of the pain on the bottom of the foot. However, it’s not so simple and in fact, recent research has shown the pain isn’t from an inflammatory process.
Rather, the pain is from a breakdown (degenerative process) of the plantar fascia over time with an abnormal healing response to regenerate “normal” tissue. But what causes this breakdown?
There are many reasons a person may develop plantar fasciitis. With just a quick google search, you’ll find tons of different explanations. The issue, at the time of writing this, is that no current evidence can pinpoint an exact cause or reason one person may develop plantar fasciitis while another person doesn’t. It’s more than likely a combination of many different factors.
The 3 most popular causes or explanations out there right now include: heel spurs, flat feet/overpronation, and tight calves. Rather than suggest one of these alone is the cause of pain on the bottom of the foot, it would be more appropriate to say that each one is a risk factor for developing plantar fasciitis.
If two or more of these are present along with other factors, it becomes more likely that they are what’s actually causing the pain. Check out the video where we dive deeper into each one of these “causes”.
Dr. Ryan Donahue was born and raised in Sioux City, IA. He attended the University of Iowa where he received a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Physiology before graduating Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern Health Sciences University as a Doctor of Chiropractic. Dr. Donahue is a Certified Provider of Active Release Technique, RockTape kinesiology tape, and SMART Tools (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization). He has also had extensive post graduate training in various treatment and rehabilitation approaches that include McKenzie Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS).