Does Wearing Combat Boots Cause Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis & Combat Boots

A common search phrase regarding plantar fasciitis is whether it can be caused by wearing combat boots.

The Simple Answer

No, not directly.

The Longer Answer

The general consensus has moved away from inflammation as the cause to microtears in the origin of the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation.

With this in mind, plantar fasciitis can be caused by a number of factors as outlined below:

  • A sudden increase in training mileage;
  • Poor shoes or inappropriate footwear (Kisner & Colby, 2012);
  • Training surface problems;
  • A single severe training session;
  • Dynamic Malalignment (specifically “lower extremity movement impairment syndrome”) (Clark & Lucett, 2011, p.66-68);
  • Distal Injuries: “because of the connectivity of the structures and tissues of the kinetic chain, dysfunction can migrate toward or stem from imbalance or injury from other areas of the body.” (Clark & Lucett, 2011, p.323);
  • Lack of ankle dorsiflexion (Irving et al., 2006; McPoil et al., 2008), believed to be associated with rather than a cause of, viewpoint dependent on the research you read;
  • In court sports athletes it is “Caused by repetitive pushing off and jumping.” (Madden et al., 2010, p.504); and
  • Pronated foot type (Irving et al., 2007; Clark & Lucett, 2011);

It is often noted that some change in activity level (i.e. increase) occurred before the onset of pain!

Plantar fasciitis can be an acute or chronic condition.

Regarding Recruit Soldiers

Many military organisations advise potential recruits to prepare themselves physically for the rigours of initial/basic training, with one of the reasons being to reduce the incidence of injury.

Prior to joining the military, a recruit may not have been involved in much sport or exercise. The sudden increase in volume and frequency of training can be a causal factor for injury.

Further, a number of military organisations do not allow recruits to wear boots for the first couple of weeks to ease the transition from little or no physical training to a higher volume/frequency of training.

Regarding Trained Soldiers

After completing initial/basic training, there can be a reduction in the frequency and volume of organised physical training sessions, with personnel expected to conduct fitness training within their own time.

Consequently, the frequency, volume and type of training varies considerably between personnel.

(from personal observation) Some personnel conduct as little exercise as possible and, when faced with the annual load march, then suffer an injury due to their lack of preparedness.

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