Plantar pressure and plantar fasciitis, is there a link?

Altered plantar pressures, or mechanical overload, has been implicated as a causative factor in lower extremity running-related injuries. But what does the literature say about this concept? In 2003, Wearing et al. studied the link between plantar pressure and plantar fasciitis. The study size was relatively small, 16 patients with and without plantar fasciitis. But, their findings indicate that patients with plantar fasciitis do make adjustments in their gait that resulted in decreased force beneath the heel and forefoot of the symptomatic foot. In addition, they discovered increased pressure under the tips of the toes was also present in those with plantar fasciitis. What effect does this altered plantar pressure have on the movement of the foot? Well, in 2014, Chang et al. looked at the ground reaction forces and movement of the foot to see if there were alterations in foot kinematics and discovered distinct differences in injured subjects. They found greater foot pronation, increased forefoot plantar flexion, and decreased plantar pressure at toe off. These findings suggest that plantar fasciitis causes alterations in the movement of the foot that are distinct and measurable. It is important to keep in mind that alterations in the “normal” movement patterns of the foot disrupt the balance of forces necessary for normal gait during running. Evidence exists linking altered foot movement patterns with other running-related injuries. Consequently, correcting the plantar fasciitis can improve overall lower extremity biomechanics and reduce the chances other injuries crop up.

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