Plantar fasciitis is the term commonly used to refer to heel and arch pain traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. More specifically, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue, called plantar fascia, that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone. Flat feet, changes in weight (especially increases in body weight), and activity changes can cause this condition. Plantar faciitis may also be associated with a heel spur, and this can be identified with an X-Ray. Plantar fasciitis is often successfully treated with conservative measures, such as the use of anti-inflammatory medications, icing, stretching exercises, orthotic devices, injections, and physical therapy.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body, and it is a common site for irritation or tears. Both professional and weekend athletes may suffer from Achilles tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendon. Common causes of Achilles tendonitis include the following: running up hills or stairs, trauma, overuse, rapid increase in mileage for running or walking, flat feet, and improper shoegear. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling. Injuries to the Achilles tendon may require an MRI or ultrasound because these modalities allow visualization of the tendon. X-Rays will not show the Achilles tendon but can show a bone spur on the back of the heel bone, which may occur with chronic, long-term Achilles tendon problems. Treatment options include immobilization, strapping, proper shoegear, physical therapy, medication, icing, and on occasion, surgery.