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Impact of Chronic Plantar Heel Pain on Health-Related Quality of Life

Damien B. Irving BPhysT(Hons)1, Jill L. Cook PhD1, Mark A. Young BPhysT1, and Hylton B. Menz PhD1
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  • 1 Musculoskeletal Research Centre, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
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Background: Chronic plantar heel pain (CPHP) is common and is thought to have a detrimental impact on health-related quality of life. However, no study has used normative data or a control data set for comparison of scores. Therefore, we describe the impact of CPHP on foot-specific and general health-related quality of life by comparing CPHP subjects with controls.

Methods: Foot Health Status Questionnaire scores were compared in 80 subjects with CPHP and 80 sex- and age-matched controls without CPHP.

Results: The CPHP group demonstrated significantly poorer foot-specific quality of life, as evidenced by lower scores on the foot pain, foot function, footwear, and general foot health domains of the Foot Health Status Questionnaire. The group also demonstrated significantly poorer general health-related quality of life, with lower scores on the physical activity, social capacity, and vigor domains. In multivariate analysis, CPHP remained significantly and independently associated with Foot Health Status Questionnaire scores after adjustment for differences in body mass index. Age, sex, body mass index, and whether symptoms were unilateral or bilateral had no association with the degree of impairment in people with CPHP.

Conclusion: Chronic plantar heel pain has a significant negative impact on foot-specific and general health-related quality of life. The degree of negative impact does not seem to be associated with age, sex, or body mass index. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(4): 283–289, 2008)

Corresponding author: Damien B. Irving, BPhysT(Hons), Musculoskeletal Research Centre, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3086. (E-mail: damien_irving@yahoo.com.au)