The plantar fascia is a structure under the foot that is attached to the heel bone (calcaneus) and the base of the toes at the ball of the foot (metatarsals). The primary role is to support the arch and prevents its collapse.
Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia involving micro-tears of the structure. This may be brought on suddenly or with repetitive movements. A barefoot walk on the beach or flat, flexible shoes may stretch the fascia and cause inflammation due to the lack of arch support. Fasciitis may be caused by biomechanical changes seen in the flat foot or the high-arch foot. Athletes who alter either their training pattern/intensity or the contact-playing surface may put the plantar fascia at risk for micro-tears and inflammation.
Symptoms of fasciitis include heel and/or arch pain. The pain is generally the most intense when taking the first steps in the morning, but may also be present during physical activity or during the entire day.