Plantar Fasciitis (PF) is a subacute, degenerative process that often results in debilitating pain located in the heel and bottom of the foot. The pain experienced is often most severe at the beginning of the day upon onset of physical activity.
Anatomically, the plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs the length of the foot from the heel all the way through the arch to the base of the toes. The tissue separates into distinct segments, ultimately dividing into 5 digital bands that connect to the toe joints. In a normal, healthy state, the plantar fascia provides tension to support the foot as well as providing shock absorption during routine as well as more demanding activities like running.
Although the etiology of PF is multifactorial, it is generally believed to result from repeated pressure on the tissue that can create small tears in the fascia or overstretch the fascia. Risk factors for developing PF include foot arch problems, heel spurs, age, heel fat pad atrophy, obesity, weight gain, running activities (e.g. jogging, tennis), weight-bearing occupations, and tight Achilles tendon.
Although plantar fasciitis pain can improve over time, or even resolve itself using conservative treatment methods, progress can nonetheless be slow and frustrating. Furthermore, treatment failure is not uncommon and can lead to considering surgical intervention.
Looking to the future, the introduction of a novel treatment option like botulinum toxin may prove a welcome addition to today’s armamentarium.
Facts, Figures & Trends:
- An estimated 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. will suffer from plantar fasciitis at some point in their lifetime, with approximately 1 million patient visits per year attributed to PF. 1
- Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and is responsible for 80% of the cases. 1
- The incidence and prevalence of PF in women is twice that of men, although the condition is seen in adults of all ages. 2
- The annual cost of evaluation and treatment for PF is estimated to be more than $250 million dollars. 2