Fibromyalgia refers to a disease of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue that is characterised by chronic widespread pain, physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation and cognitive difficulties.
Patients are also known to experience a wide range of somatic and psychological symptoms such as gastrointestinal disturbances, depression, migraine, anxiety and rheumatic diseases.
Häuser et al. state genetic underpinnings as playing a role in the development of fibromyalgia with first-degree relatives of patients with the syndrome showing an eightfold greater risk of developing fibromyalgia.
The authors also mention various infections such as brucellosis and Lyme disease as being linked to the syndrome, in addition to physical trauma to the spine and inflammatory joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis acting as triggers.
Pain centralisation is often listed as a prominent hypothesis for the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia; the central nervous system facilitates the augmentation or amplification of pain, and leads to the development of other co-morbid symptoms such as sleeping problems and fatigue.
While discussing specific podiatric characteristics of fibromyalgia, Galea et al. compared two groups of age and gender-matched patients attending podiatric clinics in Spain – one with the syndrome and a control group – to differentiate the rate of podiatric lesions.
The authors observed generalised pain in the lower extremity of the patients with fibromyalgia which could even reach a moderate intensity in some locations. However, this pain was found to have no functional impact as determined by a physical examination of foot and knee movement.
Another interesting observation from the study was the higher prevalence of hyperkeratosis in controls than in fibromyalgia patients, leading the authors to conclude that foot lesions are not significantly influenced by the presence of fibromyalgia.
As part of a broader rehabilitative programme, MASS4D® foot orthotics can be used as a pain management device to provide patients with relief from joint pain during ambulation while restoring foot and ankle alignment to facilitate a healthy distribution of weight across the plantar surface.
MASS4D® foot orthotics, which are customised according to an individual’s foot structure and condition, help place the lower limbs in a biomechanical advantageous position so as to prevent the onset of any additional painful structural or functional problems in patients with fibromyalgia.
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Repetitive plantarflexion can lead to pain and mechanical limitation in the posterior ankle joint which is known as posterior ankle impingement syndrome. This pathology commonly occurs in ballet dancers and football players.