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Heel Pain Worse for Overweight People

Plantar Fasciitis Strikes a Million a Year


Updated June 06, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Walking Off Weight

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When it comes to heel pain, if you weigh more you probably hurt more. In a small study of patients with plantar fasciitis in 2004, researchers found obesity was the only factor that predicted whether heel pain led to disability. They also looked at pain intensity, ankle dorsiflexion, age, gender, whether the condition was chronic, and time spent weightbearing. Those factors didn't change the rate of disability due to heel pain. The more overweight a person was, the higher their level of disability was according to study author Daniel L. Riddle, Ph.D., P.T., as reported in a press release.

How Common is Plantar Fasciitis?

If you have plantar fasciitis heel pain, you aren't one in a million, you are one of a million a year who seek treatment for it each year in the USA. Most sufferers visit their primary care physician for treatment, while one third see an orthopedic medicine specialist, according to a study published in 2004. It's a steady stream of business for orthopedic surgeons, making up one percent of all of their visits. The study said that the most common treatment was pain relievers, followed by treatments including exercise regimens, education and physical therapy.

Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain

What is Plantar Fasciitis and How Can You Treat Yourself?
Heel Pain Relief and Self-Treatment Items


Riddle DL, Pulisic M, Sparrow K. "Impact of demographic and impairment-related variables on disability associated with plantar fasciitis." Foot Ankle Int. 2004 May;25(5):311-7

Riddle DL, Schappert SM. "Volume of ambulatory care visits and patterns of care for patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis: a national study of medical doctors." Foot Ankle Int. 2004 May;25(5):303-10.

Press Release: Heel Pain a Huge Problem in the United States. American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. June 2, 2004.

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