Effect of Surgical Weight Loss on Plantar Fasciitis and Health-Care Use

J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2018 Nov;108(6):442-448. doi: 10.7547/15-169. Epub 2018 Apr 4.


Background:: Plantar fasciitis (PF) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Obesity is recognized as a major factor in PF development, possibly due to increased mechanical loading of the foot due to excess weight. The benefit of bariatric surgery is documented for other comorbidities but not for PF.

Methods:: A retrospective medical record review was performed for patients with PF identified from a prospectively maintained database of the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute. Age, sex, surgery, excess weight loss, body mass index (BMI), and health-care use related to PF treatment were abstracted. Comparative analyses were stratified by surgery type.

Results:: Two hundred twenty-eight of 10,305 patients (2.2%) had a documented diagnosis of PF, of whom 163 underwent bariatric surgery and were included in the analysis. Eighty-five percent of patients were women, mean ± SD age was 52.2 ± 9.9 years, and mean ± SD preintervention BMI was 45 ± 7.7. Postoperatively, mean ± SD BMI and excess weight loss were 34.8 ± 7.8 and 51.0% ± 20.4%, respectively. One hundred forty-six patients (90%) achieved resolution of PF and related symptoms. The mean ± SD number of treatment modalities used for PF per patient preoperatively was 1.9 ± 1.0 ( P = .25). After surgery, the mean ± SD number of treatment modalities used per patient was reduced to 0.3 ± 0.1 ( P = .01).

Conclusions:: We present new evidence suggesting that reductions in BMI after bariatric surgery may be associated with decreasing the number of visits for PF and may contribute to symptomatic improvement.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Databases, Factual
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / etiology
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Gastrectomy / methods
  • Gastric Bypass / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*