Imaging of stress fractures in the athlete

Damon J Spitz, Arthur H Newberg
Radiologic Clinics of North America 2002, 40 (2): 313-31
Osseous stress fractures and stress reactions represent the effect of abnormal repetitive stress on normal bone. An accurate and thorough clinical history and sequential radiographs often suffice 40 make the diagnosis especially when the fracture occurs in one of the common locations, such as the tibia, metatarsals, or calcaneus. In cases that are atypical in location or clinical presentation the authors rely more on MR imaging, radionuclide bone scanning, and occasionally CT. MR imaging detects early changes of osseous stress injury and allows precise definition of anatomy and extent of injury, and is the preferred modality for evaluating the continuum of osseous manifestations of stress injury. MR imaging is useful in evaluating shin splints, early osseous stress injuries, and overt stress fracture. In the elite athlete prompt diagnosis and early rehabilitation are the goals.

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