Factors Associated with Chronic Plantar Heel Pain

Factors Associated with Chronic Plantar Heel Pain

One of the most common disorders of the foot that athletes experience is chronic plantar heel pain, also referred to as plantar fasciitis. This condition can be extremely debilitating and limit your ability to perform in your given sport. While this condition is very common, there are a number of different factors that may feed into obtaining it.

In a systematic review done in 2006, 16 different studies were compiled to find associations between chronic plantar heel pain and aetological factors reported in research. This study found that:

1. High body mass index in non-athletic populations & the presence of a calcaneal heel spur had a strong association with chronic plantar heel pain
2. Increased weight in a non-athletic population, increased age, decreased dorsiflexion, decreased first metatarsophalangeal joint extension, and prolonged standing have some associated with chronic plantar heel pain
3. Static foot posture & dynamic foot motion were found to be inconclusive
4. Height, weight, and BMI in athletic populations were not associated with chronic plantar heel pain

Bottom-line: If you’re an athlete with this pain, it is most likely related to decreased dorsiflexion (moving your foot towards your nose, decreased 1st MTP extension (moving your big toe towards your nose), or a possible heel spur.

Tune in Monday for the start of our Plantar Fasciitis series where we will dive into this condition and the multiple factors associated with it!

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