Complications of plantar fascia rupture associated with corticosteroid injection

Foot Ankle Int. 1998 Feb;19(2):91-7. doi: 10.1177/107110079801900207.


From 1992 to 1995, 765 patients with a clinical diagnosis of plantar fasciitis were evaluated by one of the authors. Fifty-one patients were diagnosed with plantar fascia rupture, and 44 of these ruptures were associated with corticosteroid injection. The authors injected 122 of the 765 patients, resulting in 12 of the 44 plantar fascia ruptures. Subjective and objective evaluations were conducted through chart and radiographic review. Thirty-nine of these patients were evaluated at an average 27-month follow-up. Thirty patients (68%) reported a sudden onset of tearing at the heel, and 14 (32%) had a gradual onset of symptoms. In most cases the original heel pain was relieved by rupture. However, these patients subsequently developed new problems including longitudinal arch strain, lateral and dorsal midfoot strain, lateral plantar nerve dysfunction, stress fracture, hammertoe deformity, swelling, and/or antalgia. All patients exhibited diminished tension of the plantar fascia upon examination by the stretch test. Comparison of calcaneal pitch angles in the affected and uninvolved foot showed a statistically significant difference of 3.7 degrees (P = 0.0001). Treatment included NSAIDs, rest or cross-training, stretching, orthotics, and boot-brace immobilization. At an average 27-month follow-up, 50% had good/excellent scores and 50% had fair/poor scores. Recovery time was varied. Ten feet were asymptomatic by 6 months post rupture, four feet by 12 months post rupture, and 26 feet remained symptomatic 1 year post rupture. Our findings demonstrate that plantar fascia rupture after corticosteroid injection may result in long-term sequelae that are difficult to resolve.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fascia / injuries*
  • Fascia / physiopathology
  • Fasciitis / drug therapy
  • Fasciitis / therapy
  • Fasciotomy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foot Diseases / etiology*
  • Foot Diseases / physiopathology
  • Foot Diseases / therapy
  • Heel
  • Humans
  • Injections / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Rupture, Spontaneous


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones