/ 17 min

103 Facts and Statistics About Plantar Fasciitis

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By: KURU Footwear

About 2 million Americans receive treatment for plantar fasciitis yearly, and an estimated 10 percent of people will face this problem during their lifetime. Want to know more? We compiled a list of the most important plantar fasciitis statistics and facts.

What is Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the number one cause of heel pain in adults. It occurs when the connective tissue running between the heel and toes—called the plantar fascia—becomes irritated or inflamed. The plantar fascia helps create the foot’s arch and acts like a spring when walking to help propel the body forward.

With repeated use, the plantar fascia can experience microtears, lose elasticity and become less resilient, sometimes resulting in the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

Degeneration of the plantar fascia connective tissue can sometimes create heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

Prevalence of Plantar Fasciitis

Wondering how many people plantar fasciitis affects? It’s estimated that about 1 in 10 people will experience plantar fasciitis, and middle-aged women are more likely to develop the issue.     

Here are some other important statistics and facts on the prevalence of plantar fasciitis.

  1. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain in middle-aged adults. (IJERPH, 2022)
  2. About 2 million people in the U.S. receive treatment for plantar fasciitis each year. (KURU, 2022) 
  3. Among U.S. adults, plantar fasciitis is particularly prevalent in those in their 40s and 50s. (KURU, 2022)  
  4. The top 10 most common careers among those with plantar fasciitis are: 
    • Health Care and Social Assistance
    • Finance and Insurance
    • Education
    • Software 
    • Information – Services and Data
    • Construction 
    • Hotel and Food Services
    • Wholesale 
    • Manufacturing – Other 
    • Retail (KURU, 2022)  
  5. Plantar fasciitis affects about 10 percent of the general population. (JU, 2022)  
  6. Plantar fasciitis accounts for 15 percent of foot disorders. (EJMCM, 2023)  
  7. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions that foot and ankle surgeons encounter. (JFAS, 2023)
  8. Plantar fasciitis patients account for about 1 percent of all orthopedic visits. (Healthcare, 2022)
  9. Some studies report the prevalence of plantar fasciitis among runners to be as high as 22 percent. (EJMCM, 2023)  
  10. U.S. adult females are 2.5 times more likely to report plantar fasciitis than males. (NCCIH, 2018) 
  11. Google searches for “plantar fasciitis” have steadily increased in recent years. (Healthcare, 2022) 
  12. In the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, internet searches for “plantar fasciitis” and “heel pain” increase in the summer and decrease in the winter. (Healthcare, 2022) 
  13. Plantar fasciitis ranks among the top three foot conditions spurring a podiatrist visit. (KURU, 2023)

Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis typically gets clinically diagnosed. This means that a patient’s symptoms and health history are usually enough to arrive at a diagnosis. However, some cases may require further testing — like X-rays, ultrasounds or CT scans.

Here’s how plantar fasciitis patients receive their diagnosis. Some diagnoses may require multiple different methods.

  1. Each year, about 1 million doctor visits in the U.S. result in a plantar fasciitis diagnosis. (DMSO, 2020)
  2. Of these 1 million visits, about 60 percent see primary care physicians. (DMSO, 2020)
  3. About 85 percent of U.S. adults that report having plantar fasciitis have a formal diagnosis. (KURU, 2022)
  4. About 20 percent of U.S. adults reporting plantar fasciitis have a self-diagnosis. (KURU, 2022)
  5. About 40 percent of U.S. adults reporting plantar fasciitis had X-rays before receiving their diagnosis. (KURU, 2022)  
  6. About 17 percent of U.S. adults reporting plantar fasciitis had CT scans before receiving their diagnosis. (KURU, 2022)
  7. About 14 percent of U.S. adults reporting plantar fasciitis had ultrasounds before receiving their diagnosis. (KURU, 2022)  
  8. About 14 percent of U.S. adults reporting plantar fasciitis had MRI scans before receiving their diagnosis. (KURU, 2022) 
  9. Plantar fasciitis usually only affects one foot, but in 30 percent of cases, it affects both feet. (JRMS 2012)
  10. Plantar fasciitis more often affects the right foot than the left. (EJMCM, 2023)
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Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Research into the causes of plantar fasciitis is ongoing, but the current consensus is that several factors—like age, weight and foot biomechanics—play a part. Here’s what we know.

While the cause of plantar fasciitis remains unknown, some studies cite poor foot biomechanics or BMI as causative factors.

General Findings

Here’s what we know about the causes of plantar fasciitis in general. 

  1. The etiology (cause) of plantar fasciitis remains unknown. (EJMCM, 2023)  
  2. Plantar fasciitis is more likely caused by various factors rather than just one. (EJMCM, 2023)
  3. Some recognized risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis include poor foot biomechanics—including flat foot or heel spurs—obesity, prolonged standing, age and poor footwear. (EJMCM, 2023) 
  4. Height likely has no association with the development of plantar fasciitis. (JRMS, 2012)

Foot and Ankle Biomechanics

Poor foot biomechanics are one reason plantar fasciitis may develop. A few examples of poor foot biomechanics include weak muscles, heel spurs, flat feet or overpronation (a downward and inward collapse of the arch when walking).

  1. One study reports that dysfunctional foot biomechanics are the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. (JFAS, 2023) 
  2. Another study reports that the most common cause of plantar fasciitis is stress from overusing the plantar fascia muscle. (EJMCM, 2023) 
  3. A weak plantar flexor muscle strongly correlates with the development of plantar fasciitis. (IJERPH, 2022)
  4. About 81 to 86 percent of plantar fasciitis patients exhibit overpronation. (JRMS, 2012) 
  5. About 78 percent of plantar fasciitis patients have tight Achilles tendons. (BMJ, 1997)
  6. There is a significant association between heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. (JRMS, 2012)

Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis.

  1. Age and BMI of plantar fasciitis patients have a significant correlation with heel spur presence and size. (CIOS, 2022)
  2. In about 50 percent of cases, heel spurs are present but not directly responsible for causing plantar fasciitis. (EJMCM, 2023) 
  3. Studies show flat foot can be a causative factor of plantar fasciitis. (CIOS, 2022) 
  4. About 21 percent of U.S. adults with plantar fasciitis have flat feet. (KURU, 2022)

Obesity and Age

Weight and plantar fasciitis are strongly associated. This may correlate with increased stress placed on weight-bearing bones and muscles.

  1. U.S. adults with a BMI of 30 or higher are five times more likely to report plantar fasciitis than those with a BMI under 25. (NCCIH, 2018)
  2. Diabetic adults are more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis than non-diabetic patients. (DMSO, 2020)
  3. One study found that a BMI over 27 was the only significant factor associated with plantar fasciitis. (DMSO, 2020)
  4. Plantar heel pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints in the elderly. (JCM, 2022)

Plantar Fasciitis Pain

Plantar fasciitis is most linked with heel pain, though other parts of the foot or body may also experience pain. It’s often a moderate daily pain.

Locations of Pain

Here’s where plantar fasciitis patients may experience pain.

  1. About 55 percent of those experiencing plantar fasciitis foot pain report pain under the heel. (KURU, 2022)
  2. About 52 percent of those experiencing plantar fasciitis foot pain report pain underneath the arch of the foot. (KURU, 2022)
  3. About 38 percent of those experiencing plantar fasciitis foot pain report pain at the upper heel. (KURU, 2022)
  4. About 31 percent of those experiencing plantar fasciitis foot pain report pain at the ball of the foot. (KURU, 2022)
  5. About 16 percent of those experiencing plantar fasciitis foot pain report pain at the toes. (KURU, 2022)
  6. About 57 percent of U.S. adults with plantar fasciitis report experiencing back pain. (KURU, 2022)
  7. About 38 percent of U.S. adults with plantar fasciitis report experiencing knee pain. (KURU, 2022)
  8. About 32 percent of U.S. adults with plantar fasciitis report experiencing heel pain. (KURU, 2022)
  9. About 23 percent of U.S. adults with plantar fasciitis report experiencing hip pain. (KURU, 2022)

Duration of Pain

Here’s how long or how often pain may occur.

  1. Most adults with plantar fasciitis (60 percent) report experiencing foot pain resulting from the condition for six or more months. (KURU, 2022)
  2. About 1 in 7 adults with plantar fasciitis experiences foot pain for five years or longer. (KURU, 2022)
  3. More than 61 percent of those with plantar fasciitis report having daily pain. (NCCIH, 2018)
  4. One study found that age was significantly associated with the frequency of pain in plantar fasciitis patients, with older patients experiencing less frequent pain. (CIOS, 2022)

Severity of Pain

Here’s what plantar fasciitis patients can expect in terms of pain severity.

45% of plantar fasciitis patients report moderate pain; 28% report mild pain; and 25% report severe pain.

  1. About 25 percent of those with plantar fasciitis report having severe pain. (NCCIH, 2018)
  2.  About 45 percent of those with plantar fasciitis report moderate pain. (NCCIH, 2018)
  3. About 28 percent of those with plantar fasciitis report mild pain. (NCCIH, 2018)
  4. Almost 54 percent of those with plantar fasciitis report that their pain at least moderately interferes with their work. (NCCIH, 2018)
  5. There is a strong correlation between the presence and size of heel spurs and symptom severity in plantar fasciitis patients. (CIOS, 2022)
  6. Night pain, sitting pain and difficulty rising from bed are more severe in women with plantar fasciitis than in men. (CIOS, 2022)

Aggravating Factors

These activities may increase plantar fasciitis pain.

  1. About 94 percent of those with plantar fasciitis experience pain taking their first few steps in the morning. (JFMPC, 2022) 
  2. About 92 percent of those with plantar fasciitis experience pain when standing after a period of sitting. (JFMPC, 2022)
  3. About 96 of those with plantar fasciitis find their pain aggravated by prolonged standing. (JFMPC, 2022)
  4. About 64 percent of those with plantar fasciitis find their pain aggravated by walking or exercising. (JFMPC, 2022)
  5. About 12 percent of those with plantar fasciitis find their pain aggravated by walking barefoot. (JFMPC, 2022)

Treatments and Healing

There are a variety of treatments that can be effective in healing plantar fasciitis. Typically, treatment begins with conservative care—like stretching exercises, icing, night splints or other gentle efforts. This is also often where treatment ends. Patients may move to moderate treatments like injections, medications or shockwave therapy if conservative care is ineffective. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary.

General Findings and Outlooks

Here’s what we know about treating and healing from plantar fasciitis overall.

  1. There is no gold standard treatment for plantar fasciitis. (EJMCM, 2023)
  2. Effective plantar fasciitis treatment may require multiple approaches rather than just one. (EJMCM, 2023) 
  3. Changes in the plantar fascia’s thickness are associated with clinical improvement. (SJMSS, 2022) 
  4. Most plantar fasciitis patients heal within six to 12 months. (EJMCM, 2023)   
  5. Regardless of treatment, plantar fasciitis pain typically resolves within one year. (AS, 2022)

Conservative Care

Conservative care is the first line of attack in addressing plantar fasciitis pain. It typically involves gentler lines of treatment, such as stretching techniques or night splints.

  1. About 90 percent of plantar fasciitis cases receive successful treatment with conservative care. (EJMCM, 2023)
  2. Some of the most common treatments for plantar fasciitis include ice, stretching and wearing a compression sock. (KURU, 2022)
  3. About 80 percent of plantar fasciitis patients do not experience pain relapses after successful conservative treatment. (AS, 2022)
  4. Resting relieves plantar fasciitis pain in 78 percent of patients.  (JFMPC, 2022)
  5. Taping is effective for reducing plantar fasciitis pain in the short term. (IJERPH, 2022).  
  6. Studies show that using an off-the-shelf orthotic is typically as effective as using a customized orthotic. (AAFP, 2019)
  7.  Plantar fascia stretching exercises are more effective than calf stretching exercises. (JRMS, 2012)
  8. A combination of dry needling and stretching could more effectively treat plantar fasciitis than stretching alone. (PTP, 2022) 
  9. Low-level laser therapy could reduce pain in plantar fasciitis patients by 40 percent in the short term (0-6 weeks). (MSP, 2022)

Injections, Medication, and Shock Wave Therapy

Platelet-rich plasma injections use the patient’s platelets to trigger healing and regeneration in the body. This technique can be helpful if conservative care fails. Another option is shock wave therapy, also called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT). This treatment involves sending acoustic waves through the foot to stimulate healing. It is a gentle, non-invasive technique.

  1. Prescribed medications and platelet-rich plasma injections are some of the most effective treatments for plantar fasciitis. (KURU, 2022)
  2. Platelet-rich plasma injections are one of the least common treatments for plantar fasciitis. (KURU, 2022) 
  3. Platelet-rich plasma injections showed an 80 percent success rate in plantar fasciitis patients at three months. (AAFP, 2019) 
  4. About six percent of U.S. adults use prescription pain medication specifically for plantar fasciitis pain. (NCCIH, 2018)  
  5. Over two-thirds of those with plantar fasciitis use over-the-counter medication for pain management. (NCCIH, 2018)  
  6. Those with a plantar fasciitis diagnosis from a medical specialist are twice as likely to treat pain with prescription medications than those with a diagnosis from a non-specialist. (NCCIH, 2018) 
  7. Shock wave therapy is one of the least common treatments for plantar fasciitis. (KURU, 2022)
  8. Shock wave therapy has been found effective in treating plantar fasciitis compared to a placebo. (AS, 2022)

Surgery

  1. Fewer than 10 percent of plantar fasciitis patients will require surgery. (PM&R, 2016)
  2. Surgery is the least common but most effective treatment for plantar fasciitis. (KURU, 2022) 
  3. One study found 97 percent of endoscopic plantar fasciotomy reported pain relief. (AAFP, 2019)
  4. About 77 percent of patients can return to wearing normal shoes seven days after surgery. (AAFP, 2019)

The Cost of Plantar Fasciitis

Wondering how much these treatments and other expenses associated with plantar fasciitis may cost? Here’s what we know about the economic burden caused by plantar fasciitis.

Americans spend an estimated $284 million each year evaluating and treating plantar fasciitis. 93% of patients spend money each month to treat pain, and 80% of expenses come from medication costs.

  1. The estimated national cost of evaluating and treating plantar fasciitis in America is $284 million annually. (MCNA, 2014)
  2. About 80 percent of expenses incurred by plantar fasciitis in America come from medication costs. (AJO, 2010)
  3. About 93 percent of adults with plantar fasciitis spend money to treat pain every month. (KURU, 2022)  
  4. About 28 percent of adults with plantar fasciitis spend $250 or more monthly to treat pain. (KURU, 2022)
  5. About 25 percent of adults with plantar fasciitis spend between $100-$250 monthly to treat pain. (KURU, 2022)
  6. About 40 percent of adults with plantar fasciitis spend less than $100 monthly to treat pain. (KURU, 2022)

Plantar Fasciitis and Footwear

It’s true that poor footwear may be killing your feet. Shoes with improper heels, non-cushioned soles or no arch support can be a culprit in causing plantar fasciitis. Here’s what you should know.

  1. There is a strong association between plantar fasciitis patients and ill-fitting shoes. (JFMPC, 2022)
  2. Plantar fasciitis patients who wear inappropriate shoes experience more severe heel pain than those who wear appropriate shoes. (JFMPC, 2022)
  3. Most (83 percent) plantar fasciitis patients wear inappropriate footwear (based on heel height, insole type and sole thickness). (JFMPC, 2022)  
  4.  About 82 percent of plantar fasciitis patients wear shoes with inadequate heel height. (JFMPC, 2022)
  5.  About 55 percent of plantar fasciitis patients wear shoes with hard, non-cushioned soles and no arch support. (JFMPC, 2022)  
  6. Cushioned shoes effectively reduce plantar pressure. (JFMPC, 2022)

Ready to support your foot health? Explore our ultimate guide to plantar fasciitis. Learn about the symptoms, causes, and prevention tips to provide exceptional comfort and support for your feet.

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