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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1757-1146-2-32) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
HBM and KBL are Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Editor-in-Chief, respectively, of the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. It is journal policy that editors are removed from the peer review and editorial decision making processes for papers they have co-authored.
AMM led and designed the review, carried out searches and eligibility checks, extracted study data and performed the quality assessment, evaluated the appropriateness of pooling data, performed the meta-analyses, interpreted the findings and drafted the manuscript. KBL assisted in designing the review, evaluated the appropriateness of pooling data, assisted in the interpretation of findings and commented on the draft manuscript. JTB extracted study data, performed the quality assessment and commented on the draft manuscript. HBM assisted in the interpretation of findings and commented on the draft manuscript. ARB assisted in the review process and commented on the draft manuscript.
All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Chronic plantar heel pain (CPHP) is a generalised term used to describe a range of undifferentiated conditions affecting the plantar heel. Plantar fasciitis is reported as the most common cause and the terms are frequently used interchangeably in the literature. Diagnostic imaging has been used by many researchers and practitioners to investigate the involvement of specific anatomical structures in CPHP. These observations help to explain the underlying pathology of the disorder, and are of benefit in forming an accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment plan. The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the diagnostic imaging features associated with CPHP, and evaluate study findings by meta-analysis where appropriate.
Bibliographic databases including Medline, Embase, CINAHL, SportDiscus and The Cochrane Library were searched electronically on March 25, 2009. Eligible articles were required to report imaging findings in participants with CPHP unrelated to inflammatory arthritis, and to compare these findings with a control group. Methodological quality was evaluated by use of the Quality Index as described by Downs and Black. Meta-analysis of study data was conducted where appropriate.
Plantar fascia thickness as measured by ultrasonography was the most widely reported imaging feature. Meta-analysis revealed that the plantar fascia of CPHP participants was 2.16 mm thicker than control participants (95% CI = 1.60 to 2.71 mm, P < 0.001) and that CPHP participants were more likely to have plantar fascia thickness values greater than 4.0 mm (OR = 105.11, 95% CI = 3.09 to 3577.28, P = 0.01). CPHP participants were also more likely to show radiographic evidence of subcalcaneal spur than control participants (OR = 8.52, 95% CI = 4.08 to 17.77, P < 0.001).
This systematic review has identified 23 studies investigating the diagnostic imaging appearance of the plantar fascia and inferior calcaneum in people with CPHP. Analysis of these studies found that people with CPHP are likely to have a thickened plantar fascia with associated fluid collection, and that thickness values >4.0 mm are diagnostic of plantar fasciitis. Additionally, subcalcaneal spur formation is strongly associated with pain beneath the heel.
Additional file 1: Description of search strategy. A detailed description of the database search strategy. (PDF 20 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM1_ESM.pdf
Additional file 2: Description of quality assessment tool. A detailed description of the Downs and Black quality assessment tool. (PDF 26 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM2_ESM.pdf
Additional file 3: Search results by database. A table showing the number of citations generated by the search strategy for each database. (PDF 14 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM3_ESM.pdf
Additional file 4: Included studies. A table showing the author and publication details of the included studies. (PDF 21 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM4_ESM.pdf
Additional file 5: Exclusion grounds for articles rejected after full-text assessment. A table showing the exclusion grounds for articles excluded from the review after full-text assessment. (PDF 19 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM5_ESM.pdf
Additional file 6: Quality Index Scores. A table showing the individual quality index scores for each included article. (PDF 40 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM6_ESM.pdf
Additional file 7: Thickness of the proximal plantar fascia by ultrasonography: variability between studies. A detailed description of the methodological variability between studies reporting plantar fascia thickness by ultrasonography. (PDF 30 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM7_ESM.pdf
Additional file 8: Thickness of the plantar fascia by MRI: variability between studies. A detailed description of the methodological variability between studies reporting plantar fascia thickness by MRI. (PDF 23 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM8_ESM.pdf
Additional file 9: Echogenicity of the proximal plantar fascia: variability between studies. A detailed description of the methodological variability between studies reporting plantar fascia echogenicity. (PDF 24 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM9_ESM.pdf
Additional file 10: Evidence of plantar calcaneal spur by plain film x-ray: variability between studies. A detailed description of the methodological variability between studies reporting evidence of plantar calcaneal spur by plain film x-ray. (PDF 27 KB)13047_2009_106_MOESM10_ESM.pdf
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- Diagnostic imaging for chronic plantar heel pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Andrew M McMillan
Karl B Landorf
Joanna T Barrett
Hylton B Menz
Adam R Bird
- BioMed Central