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Application of ultrasound in the assessment of plantar fascia in patients with plantar fasciitis: a systematic review

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Tags: diagnosis, etiology, plantar fasciitis, pro, foot, leg, limbs, pain problems, overuse injury, injury, tendinosis

Two articles on PainSci cite Mohseni-Bandpei 2014: (1) Complete Guide to Plantar Fasciitis

PainSci summary of Mohseni-Bandpei 2014: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com 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 at the bottom of the page, as often as possible.

Mohseni-Bandpei et al did a systematic review of studies of ultrasound used to diagnose plantar fasciitis and monitor the effects of treatment.

The diagnostic studies, a dozen of them, simply compared plantar fascia thickness in patients with and without plantar fasciitis. They were all testing — and mostly confirming — the idea that plantar fasciitis patients have a thickened plantar fascia.

Sixteen more studies used ultrasound to detect changes in that thickness as a response to treatment.

And another six studies — a bit odd-man out — examined using ultrasound to “guide” treatment, quite literally: as a way to see exactly where to apply a treatment, (e.g. where to insert a probe).

The review concluded:

…ultrasound can be considered a reliable imaging technique for assessing plantar fascia thickness, monitoring the effect of different interventions and guiding therapeutic interventions in patients with plantar fasciitis.

~ 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.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain, estimated to affect 10% of the general population during their lifetime. Ultrasound imaging technique is increasingly being used to assess plantar fascia thickness, monitor the effect of different interventions and guide therapeutic interventions in patients with plantar fasciitis.

The purpose of the present study was to systematically review previously published studies concerning the application of ultrasound in the assessment of plantar fascia in patients with plantar fasciitis.

A literature search was performed for the period 2000-2012 using the Science Direct, Scopus, PubMed, CINAHL, Medline, Embase and Springer databases. The key words used were: ultrasound, sonography, imaging techniques, ultrasonography, interventional ultrasonography, plantar fascia and plantar fasciitis.

The literature search yielded 34 relevant studies. Sixteen studies evaluated the effect of different interventions on plantar fascia thickness in patients with plantar fasciitis using ultrasound; 12 studies compared plantar fascia thickness between patients with and without plantar fasciitis using ultrasound; 6 studies investigated the application of ultrasound as a guide for therapeutic intervention in patients with plantar fasciitis. There were variations among studies in terms of methodology used.

The results indicated that ultrasound can be considered a reliable imaging technique for assessing plantar fascia thickness, monitoring the effect of different interventions and guiding therapeutic interventions in patients with plantar fasciitis.

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