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Volume 33, Issue 1, March 2022



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Mediterr J Rheumatol 2022;33(1):35-41
Biomechanical Properties of Heel Pad, Metatarsal Head Soft-Tissue and Foot Ulcers in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis: A Case Control Study
Authors Information

1. Radiology Department, Firoozgar Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2. Rheumatology Department, Firoozgar Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Background: Systemic sclerosis is a chronic disease of connective tissue accompanied by fibrosis of the skin and inner organs and an increased risk of foot ulcers. Biomechanical indices such as soft-tissue thickness and compressibility may correlate with the risk of this phenomenon. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess heel pad and first metatarsal head (MTH) soft-tissue thickness and compressibility index (CI) in scleroderma patients compared to matched healthy individuals. Not all patients had foot ulcers. Methods: Heel pad thickness in standing (loaded) and lying (unloaded) positions were measured in 40 scleroderma patients by means of a lateral foot radiograph. CI was measured as the ratio of loaded to unloaded thickness. The Soft-tissue thickness of the first MTH was measured by ultrasound. Results were compared with 40 healthy controls of matched age and body mass index. All patients’ diagnoses were made based on the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria. Results: Forty scleroderma patients (36 females, 4 males) with the following demographics were studied; mean age (SD) 45(12), mean body mass index 25.5 (4), and mean disease duration=10(9.6) years; only 8 (20%) had digital ulcers. Patients’ heel pad thickness and CI in the dominant side and MTH soft-tissue thickness on both sides were significantly different compared to the control group. Comparison of results in patients with and without foot ulcers also showed a significant difference in soft-tissue thickness. Thickness was negatively associated with disease duration, but the CI did not change over time. Conclusion: Soft-tissue thickness of the foot decreases in scleroderma patients and is associated with foot ulcers and digital ulcers in the hands.


Cite this article as: Pourian M, Mohseni I, Andalib E, Poormoghim H. Biomechanical Properties of Heel Pad, Metatarsal Head Soft-Tissue and Foot Ulcers in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis: A Case Control Study. Mediterr J Rheumatol 2022;33(1):35-41.

Article Submitted: 4 Jun 2021; Revised Form: 2 Oct 2021; Article Accepted: 15 Oct 2021; Available Online: 31 Mar 2022

https://doi.org/10.31138/mjr.33.1.35

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

©Pourian M, Mohseni I, Andalib E, Poormoghim H.