Association Between Plantar Fasciitis and Isolated Gastrocnemius Tightness

Foot Ankle Int. 2018 Mar;39(3):271-277. doi: 10.1177/1071100717744175. Epub 2017 Dec 4.


Background: An association between plantar fasciitis and isolated gastrocnemius tightness (IGT) has been postulated in the literature; however, there have been few studies to prove this relationship. This prospective cross-sectional cohort study was aimed at determining the association between plantar fasciitis and IGT.

Methods: Three groups comprising 45 patients with plantar fasciitis (group 1), 117 patients with foot and ankle pathology other than plantar fasciitis (group 2), and 61 patients without foot and ankle pathology (group 3) were examined for the presence of IGT using the Silfverskiöld test. Statistical tests included chi-square test, Student t test, and analysis of variance.

Results: Of the patients, 101 (45.3%) had IGT: 36 (80%) in group 1, 53 (45.3%) in group 2, and 12 (19.7%) in group 3. The difference in IGT prevalence between the groups was statistically significant at P < .001. The prevalence of IGT was similar between acute and chronic plantar fasciitis at 78.9% and 80.6%, respectively.

Conclusion: There was a very strong association between plantar fasciitis and IGT using group 3 as a reference. This study suggests that IGT should be actively sought out and managed in patients with plantar fasciitis.

Level of evidence: Level II, cross-sectional cohort prospective study.

Keywords: Silfverskiöld test; isolated gastrocnemius tightness; plantar fasciitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Contracture / diagnosis
  • Contracture / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / diagnosis
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Tonus*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Young Adult