Heel pain is a prevalent concern in orthopedic clinics, and there are numerous pathologic abnormalities that can cause heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, and the plantar fascia thickens in this process. It has been found that thickening to greater than 4 mm in ultrasonographic measurements can be accepted as meaningful in diagnoses. Herein, we aimed to measure normal plantar fascia thickness in adults using ultrasonography.
We used ultrasonography to measure the plantar fascia thickness of 156 healthy adults in both feet between April 1, 2011, and June 30, 2011. These adults had no previous heel pain. The 156 participants comprised 88 women (56.4%) and 68 men (43.6%) (mean age, 37.9 years; range, 18–65 years). The weight, height, and body mass index of the participants were recorded, and statistical analyses were conducted.
The mean ± SD (range) plantar fascia thickness measurements for subgroups of the sample were as follows: 3.284 ± 0.56 mm (2.4–5.1 mm) for male right feet, 3.3 ± 0.55 mm (2.5–5.0 mm) for male left feet, 2.842 ± 0.42 mm (1.8–4.1 mm) for female right feet, and 2.8 ± 0.44 mm (1.8–4.3 mm) for female left feet. The overall mean ± SD (range) thickness for the right foot was 3.035 ± 0.53 mm (1.8–5.1 mm) and for the left foot was 3.053 ± 0.54 mm (1.8–5.0 mm). There was a statistically significant and positive correlation between plantar fascia thickness and participant age, weight, height, and body mass index.
The plantar fascia thickness of adults without heel pain was measured to be less than 4 mm in most participants (~92%). There was no statistically significant difference between the thickness of the right and left foot plantar fascia.