Hypothyroidism and Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar FasciitisIt is well documented that musculoskeletal conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, Dupuytren’s contracture and trigger finger, occur in association with thyroid disease. Most disorders occur with hypothyroidism, but there have been occurrences with thyrotoxicosis as well. Although there is limited research to support a clear association between hypothyroidism and plantar fasciitis, it is theorized that low thyroid levels will increase the susceptibility for the development of plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is the tearing, inflammation and deterioration of the plantar fascia, a connective tissue band which supports the arch. Plantar fasciitis classically causes heel pain at the first step in the morning or upon rising after long periods of rest. The plantar fascia is similar in structure to a ligament and is composed of mostly collagen, but also elastin and GAGs, which are long carbohydrate chains known to attract water and increase resiliency. Musculoskeletal disorders result from hypothyroidism because low thyroid levels cause deposits within the connective tissue. This occurs because thyroid hormone inhibits fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are cells within connective tissue which produce and secrete substances important in connective tissue structure, such as collagen, elastin, GAGs and fibronectin. With normal levels of thyroid hormone, these substances are not overproduced. When thyroid levels are low, fibroblasts overproduce these substances, particularly GAGs. GAGs attract water and increased deposits in the fascia disrupt the collagen network by increasing the space between collagen fibers. The strength of the plantar fascia is due in part to the organized array of collagen fibers. The additional GAGs, additional water content and increased spacing decreases the overall strength of the fascial band, which increases it’s susceptibility to tearing. Microscopic tears may occur in the plantar fascia under normal conditions, and this results in plantar fasciitis.

More information on plantar fasciitis.
More information on plantar fasciosis.

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2003 Aug;59(2):162-7.

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20 Responses to “Hypothyroidism and Plantar Fasciitis”

  1. on 03 Jun 2010 at 9:00 pm Vickie Webb

    I’m a 5 year survivor of thyroid cancer and am having problem s with the arches of my feet causing pain. I just read that there could be a connection between the two sets of symptoms. Is there anything one can do to keep the tendon of the arch from tearing and causing discomfort? I work 12 hour shifts and stand on a motorized pallet mover in a warehouse–it’s hard on the feet and knees.

  2. on 06 Jun 2010 at 4:41 pm Julie

    Therapeutic bodywork can help with both. Think about the symptoms of hypothyroidism….fatigue being one of them. So it lowers your energy level, what is one of the main ingredients in proper muscle function…..ATP (energy). Lower thyroid hormone level + lower energy levels = lowered muscle function. You also have the lowest amount of blood flow to the legs and feet. So add that in and you have Plantar Fascitis. And I just want to make it clear that plantar fascitis is not a disease, it a symptom. Hypothyroidism can be autoimmune, meaning your body created the condition itself. Autoimmune normally begins with stress. Stress on the joints, muscles, overcompensation, emotional factors can come into play as well. The stress can lead to restriction in the blood flow which leads to body systems going kerplunk. You need adequate blood flow in order for your body to stay happy and work the way it was originally designed. Get help with the stress, decrease the symptoms. You need to find a quality massage therapist to really understand your issues. I would suggest staying away from spas or resorts and finding a therapist that specializes in autoimmune conditions.

  3. on 06 Jun 2011 at 7:04 pm george

    I HAVE HAD P/F SINCE 2007. I HAVE HAD P/T SHOTS AND SHOE INSERTS (CUSTOM BY FOOT DOC). RECENTLY THINGS HAVE BEEN GOOD AND QUIET. I WENT TO MY KIDNEY DOC FOR A VISIT AND THEY CHKD MY T-RIOD LEVEL. THEY SAID IT WAS OK, BUT MY PITUATARY GLAND WAS WORKING TO HARD TO MAKE THE T-RIOD LEVELS SO THEY PUT ME ON LEVOTHYROXIN 100MCG X 1 DAY. NOW MY HEELS HURT EVEN MORE!!!

    WILL THIS GO AWAY W/ TIME, WHAT CAN I DO??

    G..

  4. on 09 Aug 2012 at 12:11 am Jason Willing

    Hypothyroidism can be managed by modern drugs so as to minimize the symptoms caused by it. There are also food supplements that helps in managing the symptoms of hypothyroidism. .’,.`

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    I was wondering if I should increase my synthroid dose. I developed plantar fibroma and pain in both foot and have low energy. Would higher does take care of my problems?

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