Quite simply put, plantar fasciitis is an enemy of fitness. Once this problem truly starts, you need to stay away from high impact activities and that can be a serious bummer.
It is an over use injury affecting the fascia, a type of connective tissue, on the bottom of your foot. Plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous band that runs from your heel bone to the base of your toes. When the fascia is placed under too much stress, it stretches too far and tears. This causes inflammation of the fascia as well as the tissues that surround it. The tears can become scarred as they heal, creating even less flexible tissue which makes the problem even worse. Runners are susceptible to this condition since running can create tight calves. If your calves get tight, as they can pull on the fascia, increasing the tension on the fascia, decreasing its flexibility and leading to tears. Yep, this is just one more important reason to stretch. Over training can lead to this condition too, and that is why rest days are vital, as well as gradually increasing the lengths and intensities of your runs.
The condition is more common in women, people who are overweight, and folks with wither flat feet or high arches. Over pronation, placing too much weight on the inside of the foot, can lead to plantar fasciitis when combined with worn out, unsupportive sneakers.
The major symptom of this condition is pain at the base of your heel, especially during your first few footsteps in the morning, or at the beginning of a run. Treatments include resting (this means not running for a while, which can be a real pain), ice massage (use a Cryocup), and stretching your calves! It is important to stretch the deep calf muscle called the soleus.