Monday, 2 June 2008

A review of plantar heel pain of neural origin: differential diagnosis and management.

Ali M. AlshamiCorresponding Author Contact Information, a, E-mail The Corresponding Author, Tina Souvlisa and Michel W. Coppietersa

aDivision of Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld. 4072, Australia

Received 18 January 2006;
revised 28 December 2006;
accepted 15 January 2007.
Available online 30 March 2007.


Plantar heel pain is a symptom commonly encountered by clinicians. Several conditions such as plantar fasciitis, calcaneal fracture, rupture of the plantar fascia and atrophy of the heel fat pad may lead to plantar heel pain. Injury to the tibial nerve and its branches in the tarsal tunnel and in the foot is also a common cause. Entrapment of these nerves may play a role in both the early phases of plantar heel pain and recalcitrant cases. Although the contribution of nerve entrapment to plantar heel pain has been well documented in the literature, its pathophysiology, diagnosis and management are still controversial. Therefore, the purpose of this article was to critically review the available literature on plantar heel pain of neural origin. Possible sites of nerve entrapment, effectiveness of diagnostic clinical tests and electrodiagnostic tests, differential diagnoses for plantar heel pain, and conservative and surgical treatment will be discussed.

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