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Understanding the Role of Genetics in Plantar Fasciitis Susceptibility

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes chronic pain in the foot. It occurs when the fascia tissue, which is a band running along the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes, becomes inflamed. This condition affects a large number of individuals, with estimates suggesting that approximately two to three million people experience plantar fasciitis each year. It is important to seek proper treatment and management for this disorder in order to alleviate the discomfort and improve overall quality of life.

There are several factors that can contribute to a person’s susceptibility to plantar fasciitis. Age, weight, and activity level are some key determinants. For instance, older individuals, those who carry excess weight, or those who engage in high-impact activities may be more prone to developing this condition. Moreover, genetics also play a role in the likelihood of experiencing plantar fasciitis. Therefore, it is important for individuals to be aware of these risk factors and take necessary precautions to prevent or address this painful foot condition.

Abnormal Foot Mechanics

Improper foot mechanics can often lead to the development of plantar fasciitis, a prevalent condition characterized by heel pain in runners. The excessive pressure exerted on the foot, particularly on the arch, during running can result in micro-tearing and inflammation in the plantar fascia. This condition is known to be the most common cause of heel pain among runners.

This condition also creates scar tissue that thickens and weakens the plantar fascia, potentially leading to irritation of its attachment on the calcaneus (heel bone) and heel spurs.

Genetics can play a role in predicting whether someone is more likely to experience plantar fasciitis or heel spurs, but other factors also come into play. Genetics isn’t the only factor that influences someone’s risk; there are many other elements that contribute to heel pain or plantar fasciitis development as well.

One of the primary risks is having a job that requires you to stand all day. Another potential risk factor is being overweight or having a body mass index of over 30 kg/m(2).


Obesity is a major risk factor for developing plantar fasciitis. Excess weight puts undue strain on the ligament in your heel, leading to inflammation, swelling and pain when you step on it.

Genetics may increase the likelihood of obesity by altering how your body stores fat and burns calories, but many other environmental elements, such as the food you eat and how much exercise you get, also play a role.

People with a family history of obesity are at an increased risk for becoming obese themselves, and those who already are may adopt unhealthy lifestyle practices such as inadequate dietary choices and insufficient physical activity levels.


Pregnancy is a physiological process in which a woman’s ovaries release an egg which then travels to her uterus where it becomes fertilized and develops into a fetus or embryo, usually detectable via pregnancy tests.

Pregnant women may put extra strain on their feet as they grow, placing an additional strain on the plantar fascia ligament. This strain may lead to inflammation and pain in the heel area.

Certain Occupations

Our genes contain a unique chemical code that governs how we develop, function and age. These codes are passed down from our parents and siblings.

Genetics also explains why some conditions run in families. For instance, if your mother had plantar fasciitis, your risk for developing it is higher than if there was no family history of the condition.

However, the most influential factor in developing plantar fasciitis is how your foot mechanics affect how you walk. If your feet have high arches or flat feet, poor shoe support from shoes, or are overweight, then you have an increased chance of developing this painful condition.

Plantar fasciitis typically begins just beneath the heel and is felt most with your first steps in the morning or after extended standing or walking. It may be made worse by extended or high-impact exercise, but can usually be alleviated with light stretching and resting the affected foot.


You might also like to read:

Plantar Fasciitis
The Science of Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: What You Need to Know
The Benefits of Hydrotherapy and Aquatic Exercise for Plantar Fasciitis

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