Gastrocnemius shortening and heel pain

Foot Ankle Clin. 2014 Dec;19(4):719-38. doi: 10.1016/j.fcl.2014.08.010. Epub 2014 Oct 3.


Pain and reduced function caused by disorders of either the plantar fascia or the Achilles tendon are common. Although heel pain is not a major public health problem it affects millions of people each year. For most patients, time and first-line treatments allow symptoms to resolve. A proportion of patients have resistant symptoms. Managing these recalcitrant cases is a challenge. Gastrocnemius contracture produces increased strain in both the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia. This biomechanical feature must be properly assessed otherwise treatment is compromised.

Keywords: Contracture; Gastrocnemius; Heel pain; Shortening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / physiopathology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Contracture / complications
  • Contracture / diagnosis*
  • Contracture / physiopathology*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / physiopathology*
  • Foot Deformities / etiology
  • Foot Deformities / physiopathology
  • Heel
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Tendinopathy / complications
  • Tendinopathy / diagnosis*