Plantar fasciitis causes a stabbing pain in the heel of the foot and can affect just one foot or both feet. It results from inflammation of the thick, weblike ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes (plantar fascia). The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot and absorbs shock while walking. Tension and stress on the plantar fascia cause small tears in the fascia, which leads to inflammation. Plantar fasciitis is more commonly experienced in the morning. Risk factors include age - most common between the ages of 40 and 60; certain types of exercise - plantar fasciitis is more common in runners, and other exercises such as ballet dancing and aerobic dance. The pain is usually worse after exercise, not during it; foot mechanics - flat feet, wearing shoes with poor arch support, wearing shoes with soft soles, tight Achilles tendons, a high arch or an abnormal pattern of walking can place stress on the plantar fascia; obesity - excess weight puts pressure on the plantar fascia; the third trimester of pregnancy, occupation - e.g., factory workers, waitresses/waiters, and teachers who mostly walk or stand on hard surfaces for long hours. During diagnosis, the doctor conducts a physical exam to check reflexes, muscle tone, sense of touch and sight, coordination, mild redness or swelling, and balance. An X-ray or an MRI scan may be necessary to rule out underlying issues such as a bone fracture. Treatments for plantar fasciitis include resting the feet, stretching the calves, icing, using braces, and anti-inflammatory drugs. If the level of pain is severe, a corticosteroid may be injected directly into the damaged section of the ligament or applied to the skin of the heel or the arch of the foot, followed by a painless electrical current to let the steroid pass through the skin and into the muscle. Physical therapy is also an essential aspect of treatment, which involves consulting a therapist to help perform exercises that strengthen the lower leg muscles, help to stabilize walking and lessen the workload on the plantar fascia. Surgery is a last resort for plantar fasciitis lasting more than 6 to 12 months, and involves partial detachment of the plantar fascia from the heel bone to reduce tension. However, surgery weakens the arch of the foot and may result in full loss of function.