Effect of gender, age and anthropometric variables on plantar fascia thickness at different locations in asymptomatic subjects

Eur J Radiol. 2007 Jun;62(3):449-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2007.01.002. Epub 2007 Feb 5.


Purpose: The study was aimed to investigate plantar fascia thickness at different locations in healthy asymptomatic subjects and its relationship to the following variables: weight, height, sex and age.

Material and methods: The study evaluates 96 feet of healthy asymptomatic volunteers. The plantar fascia thickness was measured at four different locations: 1cm proximal to the insertion of the plantar fascia, at the insertion of the plantar fascia on the calcaneus and separate out 1 cm + 2 cm distal to the insertion. A 10 MHz linear-array transducer was used.

Results: There were statistically significant differences in plantar fascia thickness at the four different locations (p<0.001) although no differences in PF thickness were found between the two distal from insertion locations (1 and 2 cm). Multiple regression analysis showed sex as independent predictor of plantar fascia thickness at 1cm proximal to the insertion. At origin and 1cm distal to insertion weight was an independent predictor of plantar fascia thickness.

Conclusions: There are differences of thickness at different locations of plantar fascia measured by ultrasonography. Thickness at 1cm proximal to the insertion is influenced by sex and thickness at origin and at 1cm distal to the insertion has a direct relationship with body weight. This could be attributed to the overloading effect that weight has on plantar fascia in healthy symptomatic subjects at these two locations. Height and age did not seem to influence as independent variables in plantar fascia thickness among non-painful subjects.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anthropometry / methods*
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Body Weights and Measures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fascia / anatomy & histology*
  • Fascia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Foot / anatomy & histology*
  • Foot / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heel / anatomy & histology
  • Heel / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors
  • Ultrasonography