Background: Because ultrasound measurement of plantar fascia thickness is widely used in the diagnosis and evaluation of plantar fasciitis, it is important to understand and minimize the errors that occur with this measurement. The aim of this systematic review was to identify and synthesize studies reporting on intrarater and interrater reliability of ultrasound measurement of plantar fascia thickness.
Methods: After comprehensive searches in the MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases, 11 studies involving 238 healthy participants and 68 patients with pathologic foot disorders were included.
Results: Seven of 11 studies revealed a low risk of bias. Most of the studies reported good to excellent intrarater and interrater reliability for ultrasound measurement of plantar fascia thickness (intrarater intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC], 0.77–0.98; interrater ICC, 0.76–0.98). In addition, two studies on intrarater reliability and one study on interrater reliability showed moderate reliability (ICCs, 0.65, 0.67, and 0.59, respectively). Overall, the standard error of measurement was less than 5% and did not exceed 7%.
Conclusions: The findings of this review suggest that ultrasound measurement of plantar fascia thickness is reliable in terms of both relative and absolute reliability. Reliability can be optimized by using the average of multiple measurements and an experienced operator.
Many procedures have been described for the resection of plantar calcaneal spurs as treatment of heel spur syndrome and chronic plantar fasciitis. Most of these techniques involve a medial incision of between 2 and 6 cm for adequate exposure of the calcaneal spur. This article describes a new technique for resecting a calcaneal spur with a smaller medial incision using the holmium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Ho:YAG) laser. This laser permits adequate resection of a plantar calcaneal spur as well as coagulation of the bone and surrounding tissues. This minimally invasive procedure has been used with good results over the past year by the senior author (W.K.S.) for the resection of calcaneal spurs. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(3): 142-146, 2001)
Plantar heel pain is often managed through podiatric and physical therapy interventions. Numerous differential diagnoses may be implicated in patients presenting with plantar heel pain; however, symptoms are often attributed to plantar fasciitis. Abductor hallucis, flexor digitorum brevis, and quadratus plantae share proximal anatomic attachment sites and mechanical function with the plantar fascia. Although these plantar intrinsic muscles each perform isolated digital actions based on fiber orientation and attachment sites, they function collectively to resist depression of the lateral and medial longitudinal arches of the foot. Overuse injury is the primary contributing factor in tendinopathy. The close anatomic proximity and mechanical function of these muscles relative to the plantar fascia suggests potential for proximal plantar intrinsic tendinopathy as a result of repetitive loading during gait and other weightbearing activities. To date, this diagnosis has not been proposed in the scientific literature. Future studies should seek to confirm or refute the existence of proximal plantar intrinsic tendinopathic changes in patients with acute and chronic plantar heel pain through diagnostic imaging studies, analysis of lactate concentration in pathologic versus nonpathologic tendons, and response to specific podiatric and physical therapy interventions germane to tendinopathy of these muscles.
Metatarsalgia is characterized by pain in the forefoot, which is associated with increased stress over the metatarsal head region. Despite the availability of a variety of conservative or surgical treatments for this condition, a few cases have demonstrated relapse or poor response to treatment. Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) can provide pain relief in patients with diverse chronic conditions without causing neural injury. Recently, studies have shown that ultrasound-guided PRF may be beneficial for adhesive capsulitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome, and recalcitrant plantar fasciitis. Here, we describe a successful case of significant pain relief achieved by using ultrasound-guided PRF targeting the posterior tibial nerve (PTN) at the ankle of a 67-year-old woman with recalcitrant metatarsalgia. Ten minutes after ultrasound-guided PRF was applied at the PTN, the patient reported decreased pain (from 8 to 3 on a visual analogue scale) and did not exhibit any particular side effects. Three months after PRF application, the patient's visual analogue scale score remained more than 50% below the baseline, and she did not need additional conservative treatment during the follow-up period. To the best of our knowledge, we present the first case report using ultrasound-guided PRF at the PTN for treatment of recalcitrant metatarsalgia. We hypothesize that ultrasound-guided PRF at the PTN may be a potentially novel approach for treating recalcitrant metatarsalgia.
Plantar fasciotomies have become commonplace in podiatric and orthopedic medicine for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. However, several complications have been associated with plantar fascial release. It has been speculated that the cause of these complications is excessive release of the plantar fascia. The aim of this project was to determine whether the amount of fascia released, from medial to lateral, causes a significant increase in force in the remaining fascia. A dynamic loading system was developed that allowed a cadaveric specimen to replicate the stance phase of gait. The system was capable of applying appropriate muscle forces to the extrinsic tendons on the foot and replicating the in vivo timing of the muscle activity while applying force to the tibia and fibula from heel strike to toe-off. As the plantar fascia was sequentially released from medial to lateral, from intact to 33% released to 66% released, the real-time force and the duration of force in the remaining fascia increased significantly, and the force was shifted later in propulsion. In addition, the subtalar joint was unable to resupinate as the amount of fascia release increased, indicating a direct relationship between the medial band of the plantar fascia and resupination of the subtalar joint during late midstance and propulsion. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 93(6): 429-442, 2003)
The authors review various pedal conditions affecting the rearfoot, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon pathology, fractures, arthritides, coalitions, and tumors. Various diagnostic imaging modalities such as routine radiography, radionuclide bone scanning, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging are discussed.
Literature examining the incidence of foot diseases in rock climbing is limited to traumatic injuries. We examined a large sample of climbers, assessed the chronic diseases of the foot, and correlated them with foot morphology, shoe type, and type of climbing practiced.
Between May 1 and September 30, 2009, 144 climbers (mean age, 31.7 years) were examined to analyze the effect of rock climbing on the various foot diseases found at the time of the evaluation.
Eighty-six percent of the climbers were affected by a pathologic condition. Nail disease was found in 65.3% of patients, followed by recurrent ankle sprains (27.8%), retrocalcaneal bursitis (19.4%), Achilles tendinitis (12.5%), metatarsalgia (12.5%), and plantar fasciitis (5.6%). Male sex, the use of high-type shoes, the high degree of climbing difficulty, and the competitive level were often related to the onset of foot diseases. Climbing shoes are usually smaller than common footwear. This “shoe-size reduction” averaged 2.3 sizes, forcing the foot into a supinated and cavus posture that favors lateral instability. The posterior edge of the shoe aperture produces increased pressure on the heel, with retrocalcaneal bursitis.
Overuse foot diseases related to rock climbing are particularly frequent and debilitating. Detailed knowledge of these diseases and their predisposing factors may help us implement effective preventive or therapeutic measures, including changes in the type of climbing, correction of body weight, degree of difficulty, footwear, orthoses, and measures that maximize the support of the foot to the ground. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(2): 113–120, 2013)
Closely related pathologic disorders sometimes manifest with the same symptoms, making for a complex differential diagnosis. This is the situation in plantar fasciitis (PF) and myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) with myofascial trigger points (MTPs) in the sole of the foot. This research assessed the analgesic effect on plantar pain of combination therapy with interferential current stimulation therapy (ICST), treating MTPs in the great toe adductor muscle and the short flexor muscles of the toes in patients whose diagnosis was compatible with PF or MPS.
This study included 22 feet of 17 patients with a diagnosis compatible with PF or MPS with MTP. Participants received combination therapy with ICST for 15 sessions, and the decrease in pain was measured with an algometer and the visual analog scale. Both measurements were taken before and after every fifth session. The pressure pain threshold (PPT) results obtained with the Student t test and the pain intensity perception (PIP) results obtained with the Wilcoxon signed rank test were analyzed by comparing the measurements taken before the treatment and after the fifth, tenth, and 15th sessions.
The decrease in PIP was significant after the fifth, tenth, and 15th sessions (P < .001). The increase in PPT was also significant after the fifth (P = .010), tenth (P = .023), and 15th (P = .001) sessions (P < .05).
The suggested combination therapy of ultrasound with ICST is clinically significant for reducing plantar pain after 15 treatment sessions, with a 6.5-point reduction in mean PIP and a 4.6-point increase in PPT.
Human amniotic membrane contains growth factors and cytokines that promote epithelial cell migration and proliferation, stimulate metabolic processes that lead to collagen synthesis, and attract fibroblasts, while also reducing pain and inflammation. Randomized studies have shown effectiveness of micronized dehydrated human amnion/chorion membrane (mdHACM) allograft injection in treatment of plantar fasciitis. We present our experience and short-term outcomes with using mdHACM injection as a treatment for Achilles tendinopathy.
Retrospective case series of patients with Achilles tendinopathy treated with mdHACM by a single physician. Participants had at least two follow-up visits within 45 days of mdHACM injection. Outcomes examined included change in reported level of pain during the 45-day observation period and treatment-associated adverse events.
Follow-up data were available for 32 mdHACM-treated patients. At treatment initiation, 97% of patients reported severe (66%) or moderate (31%) pain. At the first follow-up visit (mean ± SD of 8.1 ± 2.7 days postinjection), 27 patients (84%) reported improvement in pain levels, although 37% of patients continued to report severe (6%) or moderate (31%) pain. At the second follow-up visit (mean ± SD of 23.1 ± 6.2 days postinjection), no patients reported severe pain and one reported moderate pain. Within 45 days of mdHACM injection, complete symptom resolution was reported by 66% of treated patients (n = 21), with the remaining 34% (n = 11) reporting symptom improvement but not complete resolution. Two patients reported calf or quadricep pain or tightness after injection.
In our experience, mdHACM injection reduced or eliminated pain in all 32 patients with follow-up data.
We investigated the role of first metatarsal head shape in the etiology of hallux valgus. By pedobarographic analysis, we evaluated whether first metatarsal head shape causes an alteration in plantar pressure values that would result in metatarsalgia.
Referrals to our clinic for metatarsalgia, plantar fasciitis, and calcaneal spur were scanned retrospectively. Patients with severe hallux valgus, pes planus, gastrocnemius stiffness, generalized joint laxity, neuromuscular disease, or a history of lower-extremity orthopedic surgery were excluded. Sixty-two patients with plantar pressure assessment and radiographic evaluation were included. These patients were invited for reassessment after 10 years. Feet were divided into three groups by metatarsal head shape: round, square, and chevron. On anteroposterior radiographs, the hallux valgus and intermetatarsal angles, relative first metatarsal length, lateral sesamoid subluxation, and presence of bipartite sesamoid were noted. Plantar pressure was assessed with pedobarography.
Feet with round-shaped first metatarsal heads had a statistically significantly greater progression in hallux valgus angle than the other shapes. Plantar pressures under the first, second and third, and fourth and fifth metatarsals increased with time. This can explain the mechanism of transfer metatarsalgia and painful callosities under the first metatarsal in hallux valgus. There was no correlation between hallux valgus angle, relative metatarsal length, and lateral sesamoid subluxation.
We found a strong relation between round-shaped first metatarsal head and hallux valgus angle progression. No patients had a risk factor responsible for hallux valgus. In other words, this study gives approximately 10-year natural history results in nearly normal feet.