Biomechanical and anatomic factors associated with a history of plantar fasciitis in female runners

Clin J Sport Med. 2009 Sep;19(5):372-6. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181b8c270.


Objective: To compare selected structural and biomechanical factors between female runners with a history of plantar fasciitis and healthy control subjects.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: University of Delaware Motion Analysis Laboratory, Newark, Delaware; and University of Massachusetts Biomechanics Laboratory, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Participants: Twenty-five female runners with a history of plantar fasciitis were recruited for this study. A group of 25 age- and mileage-matched runners with no history of plantar fasciitis served as control subjects.

Interventions: The independent variable was whether or not subjects had a history of plantar fasciitis.

Main outcome measures: Subjects ran overground while kinematic and kinetic data were recorded using a motion capture system and force plate. Rearfoot kinematic variables of interest included peak dorsiflexion, peak eversion, time to peak eversion along with eversion excursion. Vertical ground reaction force variables included impact peak and the maximum instantaneous load rate. Structural measures were taken for calcaneal valgus and arch index during standing and passive ankle dorsiflexion range of motion.

Results: A significantly greater maximum instantaneous load rate was found in the plantar fasciitis group along with an increased ankle dorsiflexion range of motion compared with the control group. The plantar fasciitis group had a lower arch index compared with control subjects, but calcaneal valgus was similar between groups. No differences in rearfoot kinematics were found between groups.

Conclusion: These data indicate that a history of plantar fasciitis in runners may be associated with greater vertical ground reaction force load rates and a lower medial longitudinal arch of the foot.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / pathology
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Foot / pathology
  • Humans
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Running / physiology*
  • Young Adult