October 2010

MRI reveals intrinsic muscle atrophy in patients with plantar fasciitis pain

In the moment: Footcare

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Plantar intrinsic foot muscles associated with plantar fasciitis have significantly smaller cross sectional area than those in healthy feet, according to research from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.

The findings, presented in September at the second i-FAB conference, suggest clinical opportunities with regard to both screening and interventions for patients with plantar fasciitis.

“Clinical exams should include manual muscle testing of the plantar intrinsic foot muscles to determine atrophy or strength loss, then prescribe targeted exercises,” said Ryan Chang, PhD, who presented the findings at the i-FAB meeting. Chang, now a researcher with Canadian orthotic company Kintec Footlabs, performed the research while a graduate student at UMass.

Chang and colleagues analyzed the feet of eight subjects with unilateral plantar fasciitis, using a 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging system. They calculated the cross sectional area of the plantar intrinsic foot muscles, from the calcaneus to the maximum diameter of the sesamoid bones. Mean CSA was 5.2% smaller in feet with plantar fasciitis than in the contralateral healthy feet.

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