Plantar heel pain (PHP) is a common complaint, and is most commonly the result of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is reported to be associated with running surfaces, however the association between PHP and running surfaces has not previously been revealed in an epidemiological investigation. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between PHP and running surfaces. This is a cross-sectional study. A total of 347 competitive long-distance male runners participated in this study. The participants completed an original questionnaire, which included items assessing demographic characteristics, training characteristics focusing on running surfaces (soft surface, hard surface and tartan), and the frequency of PHP during the previous 12 months. A logistic regression analysis was used to identify the effect of running surfaces on PHP. We found that 21.9% of participants had experienced PHP during the previous 12 months. The multivariate logistic regression analysis, after adjusting for demographic and training characteristics, showed that running on tartan was associated with PHP (odds ratio = 2.82, 95% confidence interval = 1.42 to 5.61; p <0.01).
The findings from this study indicate that running in excess of 25% on tartan is related to PHP in competitive long-distance male runners.