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Pathomechanics of plantar fasciitis

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Karl Landorf, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. Karl Landorf

    Karl Landorf Member

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    An excellent article on the pathomechanics of plantar fasciitis recently published by Scott Wearing and colleagues.

    Wearing SC, Smeathers JE, Urry SR, Hennig EM, Hills AP. The pathomechanics of plantar fasciitis. Sports Medicine. 2006;36(7):585-611.

    Plantar fasciitis is a musculoskeletal disorder primarily affecting the fascial enthesis. Although poorly understood, the development of plantar fasciitis is thought to have a mechanical origin. In particular, pes planus foot types and lower-limb biomechanics that result in a lowered medial longitudinal arch are thought to create excessive tensile strain within the fascia, producing microscopic tears and chronic inflammation. However, contrary to clinical doctrine, histological evidence does not support this concept, with inflammation rarely observed in chronic plantar fasciitis. Similarly, scientific support for the role of arch mechanics in the development of plantar fasciitis is equivocal, despite an abundance of anecdotal evidence indicating a causal link between arch function and heel pain. This may, in part, reflect the difficulty in measuring arch mechanics in vivo. However, it may also indicate that tensile failure is not a predominant feature in the pathomechanics of plantar fasciitis. Alternative mechanisms including 'stress-shielding', vascular and metabolic disturbances, the formation of free radicals, hyperthermia and genetic factors have also been linked to degenerative change in connective tissues. Further research is needed to ascertain the importance of such factors in the development of plantar fasciitis.

    Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, Australia. s.wearing@qut.edu.au
  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. This may also highlight problems with mis-diagnosis. If you assume it's plantarfasciitis, you look for inflammation in the plantarfascia but don't find any, you come to the conclusion above. But there is more than just the plantar fascia at the "enthesis" at the medial tubercle of the calc. What if those plantar-intrinsics are trying to provide forefoot plantarflexion moment against big forefoot dorsiflexion moments and are the tissues being stressed? If your histological sample is the fascia, you could be missing the real picture. Like I said, we memorize the layers of plantar intrinsics as students and then largely ignore them afterwards- more research required.

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