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Reproducibility of sonographic measurement of thickness and echogenicity of the plantar fascia

PainSci » bibliography » Cheng et al 2012
Tags: treatment, plantar fasciitis, devices, foot, leg, limbs, pain problems, overuse injury, injury, tendinosis

Two articles on PainSci cite Cheng 2012: 1. Complete Guide to Plantar Fasciitis

PainSci commentary on Cheng 2012: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

Based on 56 feet, 20 with inferior heel pain, researchers concluded that “the reliability of sonographic examination of the thickness of the plantar fascia is high,” with no advantage to a transverse scan.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: To evaluate the intra- and interrater reliability of ultrasonographic measurements of the thickness and echogenicity of the plantar fascia.

METHODS: Eleven patients (20 feet), who complained of inferior heel pain, and 26 volunteers (52 feet) were enrolled. Two sonographers independently imaged the plantar fascia in both longitudinal and transverse planes. Volunteers were assessed twice to evaluate intrarater reliability. Quantitative evaluation of the echogenicity of the plantar fascia was performed by measuring the mean gray level of the region of interest using Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine viewer software.

RESULTS: Sonographic evaluation of the thickness of the plantar fascia showed high reliability. Sonographic evaluations of the presence or absence of hypoechoic change in the plantar fascia showed surprisingly low agreement. The reliability of gray-scale evaluations appears to be much better than subjective judgments in the evaluation of echogenicity. Transverse scanning did not show any advantage in sonographic evaluation of the plantar fascia.

CONCLUSIONS: The reliability of sonographic examination of the thickness of the plantar fascia is high. Mean gray-level analysis of quantitative sonography can be used for the evaluation of echogenicity, which could reduce discrepancies in the interpretation of echogenicity by different sonographers. Longitudinal instead of transverse scanning is recommended for imaging the plantar fascia.

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