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Limb-Length Discrepancy as a Cause of Plantar Fasciitis

Sadia Mahmood Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Podiatry Division, University of Florida & Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, Jacksonville, FL.

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Lanie K. Huffman Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Podiatry Division, University of Florida & Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, Jacksonville, FL.

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John G. Harris Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Podiatry Division, University of Florida & Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, Jacksonville, FL.

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Background: Anisomelia, or limb-length discrepancy, has disruptive effects on gait, posture, and ambulation. Limb-length discrepancy has been shown to be a factor in stress fractures in the femur and tibia, and the longer limb, a contributing factor in the development of low-back pain, a cause of scoliosis. We sought to determine whether limb-length discrepancy contributes to the frequency and severity of plantar fasciitis.

Methods: We enrolled 26 patients who met the inclusion criteria. Direct and indirect methods were used to measure limb-length discrepancy. We took measurements from the anterior superior iliac spine to the medial malleolus and from the umbilicus to the medial malleolus and performed the block test. Body mass index (the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) was also recorded for all of the patients.

Results: There is enough evidence to support the fact that the pain location and the longer limb are associated (Fisher test P < .0001). There was not enough evidence in this study to illustrate that body mass index was related to pain location (Fisher test P = .7411).

Conclusions: There has been little research on etiology and treatment correlation. These results indicate a strong correlation between a longer limb and unilateral plantar fasciitis pain. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(6): 452–455, 2010)

Corresponding author: Sadia Mahmood, DPM, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Podiatry Division, University of Florida & Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, 655 W 8th St, Jacksonville, FL 32209. (E-mail: Sadia.Mahmood@jax.ufl.edu)