Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate plantar fasciae of healthy subjects and patients with plantar fasciitis by shear wave velocity (SWV) and stiffness with correlation to B-Mode and color Doppler ultrasonography (CDUS) and to establish cut-off values. Methods: This observational study was conducted with the approval of the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) of our institution. 108 unilateral plantar fasciae were evaluated by including 87 consecutive patients (mean age 51.7; range: 29–82) (66 women and 21 men) with plantar fasciitis and 21 asymptomatic age matched healthy volunteers (mean age 47.3; range: 32–58) (15 women and 6 men). All patients were prospectively imaged between July 2018 and March 2019. B-mode US was used to measure thickness and CDUS to grade vascularity. SWE measurements were repeated 3 times and mean was used for statistical analysis. Results: Mean SWV value in healthy subjects was 6.94 m/s and in patients 4.98 m/s with a mean stiffness value of 152.88 kPa and 93.54 kPa respectively (p < 0.001). For SWV a cut-off value of 6.16 m/s had a specificity of 80.95% and sensitivity of 79.31%. For stiffness a cut-off value of 125.57 kPa had a specificity of 80.95% and sensitivity of 80.46%. No correlation to CDUS was found. The mean thickness of healthy fascias was 3.3 mm (range 2.4–3.9) compared to 6.1 mm (range 2.0–22.0) in plantar fasciitis (p < 0.001) with no correlation to SWV or to stiffness (r2 = 0.02, p = 0.06). Conclusion: SWE allows quantitative assessment of plantar fascia stiffness, which decreases in patients with plantar fasciitis. No correlation to the thickness of the plantar fascia was found, therefore it represents an independent factor for the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis and could be helpful in addition to thickness measurement in unclear cases.
- Color doppler ultrasonography
- Plantar fascia
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shear wave
ASJC Scopus subject areas