Stress analysis of the standing foot following surgical plantar fascia release

J Biomech. 2002 May;35(5):629-37. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(01)00242-1.

Abstract

Plantar fascia release is a surgical alternative for patients who suffer chronic heel pain due to plantar fasciitis and are unaffected by conservative treatment. A computational (finite element) model for analysis of the structural behavior of the human foot during standing was utilized to investigate the biomechanical effects of releasing the plantar fascia. The model integrates a system of five planar structures in the directions of the foot rays. It was built according to accurate geometric data of MRI, and includes linear and non-linear elements that represent bony, cartilaginous, ligamentous and fatty tissues. The model was successfully validated by comparing its resultant ground reactions with foot-ground pressure measurements and its predicted displacements with those observed in radiological tests. Simulation of plantar fascia release (partial or total) was accomplished by gradually removing parts of the fascia in the model. The results showed that total fascia release causes extensive arch deformation during standing, which is greater than normal deformation by more than 2.5mm. Tension stresses carried by the long plantar ligaments increased significantly, and may exceed the normal average stress by more than 200%. Since the contribution of the plantar fascia to the foot's load-bearing ability is of major importance, its release must be very carefully considered, and the present model may be used to help surgeons decide upon the desired degree of release.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Fascia / physiopathology
  • Fasciitis / physiopathology
  • Fasciotomy*
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Foot / anatomy & histology
  • Foot / physiopathology*
  • Foot / surgery
  • Foot Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology