Plantar fasciitis is an acute form of inflammation of the band of tissue running across the bottom of your foot.  It is one of the most common causes of heel pain and it commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs during your first steps out of bed in the morning. 
Typically plantar fasciitis is caused by repetitive stretching and tearing that can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed.  This may be due to shortening of the achilles, increased foot pronation, increased body mass and prolonged standing.
The two most common symptoms with plantar fasciitis include pain and tenderness.  Pain is usually severe in the morning or after rest and improves with activity.  In most cases the pain associated with plantar fasciitis develops gradually and affects just one foot and is aggravated by increased weight bearing.  Pain is typically produced with dorsiflexion of the toes and is typically along the arch. 
Initial treatment includes rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE principle) followed by anti-inflammatory medications as needed. If symptoms persist, focusing on stretching and soft tissue massage may be warranted. Physical Therapy can help with decreasing symptoms, muscle imbalance and improving strength in key areas needed to return to activity. Other treatments may include casting or night splints, steroid injections, and cortisone injections.
ProSport Physical Therapy, 1000 Bristol Street North, Newport Beach, CA 92663. 949-250-1112.
Tricia T. Thoms, PT, DPT, ATC