Strong work from our Staffordshire colleagues Chatzistergos and Chockalingam who continue to help push the envelope in helping us collectively measure what we manage.
This proof of concept study demonstrates that repetitive loading to the pain threshold can safely recreate overloading induced soft tissue damage and that localised tissue stiffening can be a potential marker for injury. This concept was demonstrated here for the soft tissue of the sole of the foot where it was found that repeated loading to the pain threshold led to long lasting statistically significant stiffening in the overloaded areas. Loading at lower magnitudes did not have the same effect.
This method can shed new light on the aetiology of overloading injury in the foot to improve the management of conditions such as diabetic foot ulceration and heel pain syndrome. Moreover, the link between overloading and tissue stiffening, which was demonstrated here for the first time for the plantar soft tissue, opens the way for an assessment of overloading thresholds that is not based on the subjective measurement of pain thresholds.