Due to complexity of the plantar intrinsic foot muscles, little is known about their muscle architecture in vivo. Chronic plantar fasciitis may be accompanied by muscle atrophy of plantar intrinsic foot muscles and tibialis posterior compromising the dynamic support of the foot prolonging the injury. Magnetic resonance images of the foot may be digitized to quantify muscle architecture. The first purpose of this study was to estimate in vivo the volume and distribution of healthy plantar intrinsic foot muscles. The second purpose was to determine whether chronic plantar fasciitis is accompanied by atrophy of plantar intrinsic foot muscles and tibialis posterior.
Magnetic resonance images were taken bilaterally in eight subjects with unilateral plantar fasciitis. Muscle perimeters were digitally outlined and muscle signal intensity thresholds were determined for each image for volume computation.
The mean volume of contractile tissue in healthy plantar intrinsic foot muscles was 113.3 cm(3). Forefoot volumes of plantar fasciitis plantar intrinsic foot muscles were 5.2% smaller than healthy feet (P=0.03, ES=0.26), but rearfoot (P=0.26, ES=0.08) and total foot volumes (P=0.07) were similar. No differences were observed in tibialis posterior size.
While the total volume of plantar intrinsic foot muscles was similar in healthy and plantar fasciitis feet, atrophy of the forefoot plantar intrinsic foot muscles may contribute to plantar fasciitis by destabilizing the medial longitudinal arch. These results suggest that magnetic resonance imaging measures may be useful in understanding the etiology and rehabilitation of chronic plantar fasciitis.
"Conversely, a low level of TFS is associated with a high risk of falls in elderly individuals  and impairment of physical performance in athletes . Accordingly, an atrophy of toe flexor muscles or plantar intrinsic muscles in the forefoot has been identified in patients with plantar fasciitis . Therefore, appropriate evaluation of TFS is important to quantify the physical activity in daily living and sports. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
The aims of this study were to investigate the relationships between the maximum isometric toe flexor muscle strength (TFS) and cross-sectional area (CSA) of the plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles and to identify the major determinant of maximum TFS among CSA of the plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles.
Twenty six young healthy participants (14 men, 12 women; age, 20.4 ± 1.6 years) volunteered for the study. TFS was measured by a specific designed dynamometer, and CSA of plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles were measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). To measure TFS, seated participants optimally gripped the bar with their toes and exerted maximum force on the dynamometer. For each participant, the highest force produced among three trials was used for further analysis. To measure CSA, serial T1-weighted images were acquired.
TFS was significantly correlated with CSA of the plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles. Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses identified that the major determinant of TFS was CSA of medial parts of plantar intrinsic muscles (flexor hallucis brevis, flexor digitorum brevis, quadratus plantae, lumbricals and abductor hallucis). There was no significant difference between men and women in TFS/CSA.
CSA of the plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles is one of important factors for determining the maximum TFS in humans.
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 05/2014; 7(1):26. DOI:10.1186/1757-1146-7-26 · 1.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A specific training program emphasizing the neuromuscular recruitment of the plantar intrinsic foot muscles, colloquially referred to as "short foot" exercise (SFE) training, has been suggested as a means to dynamically support the medial longitudinal arch (MLA) during functional tasks. A single-group repeated measures pre- and post-intervention study design was utilized to determine if a 4-week intrinsic foot muscle training program would impact the amount of navicular drop (ND), increase the arch height index (AHI), improve performance during a unilateral functional reaching maneuver, or the qualitative assessment of the ability to hold the arch position in single limb stance position in an asymptomatic cohort. 21 asymptomatic subjects (42 feet) completed the 4-week SFE training program. Subject ND decreased by a mean of 1.8 mm at 4 weeks and 2.2 mm at 8 weeks (p < 0.05). AHI increased from 28 to 29% (p < 0.05). Intrinsic foot muscle performance during a static unilateral balancing activity improved from a grade of fair to good (p < 0.001) and subjects experienced a significant improvement during a functional balance and reach task in all directions with the exception of an anterior reach (p < 0.05). This study offers preliminary evidence to suggest that SFE training may have value in statically and dynamically supporting the MLA. Further research regarding the value of this exercise intervention in foot posture type or pathology specific patient populations is warranted.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
To describe a semi-automated program that will segment subcutaneous fat, muscle, and adipose tissue in the foot using MR imaging, determine the reliability of the program between and within raters, and determine the validity of the program using MR phantoms.
Materials and methods:
MR images were acquired from 19 subjects with and without diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. Two raters segmented and measured volumes from single MR slices at the forefoot, midfoot, and hindfoot at two different times. Intra- and inter-rater correlation coefficients were determined. Muscle and fat MR phantoms of known volumes were measured by the program.
Most ICC reliability values were over 0.950. Validity estimates comparing MR estimates and known volumes resulted in r(2) values above 0.970 for all phantoms. The root mean square error was less than 5% for all phantoms.
Subcutaneous fat, lean muscle, and adipose tissue volumes in the foot can be quantified in a reliable and valid way. This program can be applied in future studies investigating the relationship of these foot structures to functions in important pathologies, including the neuropathic foot or other musculoskeletal problems.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging 11/2013; 38(5). DOI:10.1002/jmri.24069 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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