Stress Fractures of the Calcaneus Diagnosed by Sonography: Report of 8 Cases

Stefano Bianchi, Dien Hung Luong
Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine: Official Journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine 2018, 37 (2): 521-529
We present a retrospective review of 8 patients (6 women and 2 men, with an age range of 46-80 years; mean age, 60.2 years) in whom sonography was used to diagnose a calcaneal stress fracture. Sonography was performed because of a clinical suspicion of soft tissue injuries. Two patients were first assessed by standard radiography; for the remaining patients, sonography was the first imaging technique used. Patients were subsequently examined by magnetic resonance imaging, except for 1 patient in whom the diagnosis was made only on a clinical-sonographic correlation. On sonography, there was thickening of the periosteum and subcutaneous edema in all patients; a calcified bone callus was evident in none of the 8 patients. Cortical irregularities were found in 6 of 8 patients. Color Doppler imaging showed local hypervascular changes of the periosteum in all patients. Sonography, together with clinical findings, can be used to diagnose a calcaneal stress fracture. We suggest that sonologists should include a calcaneal stress fracture in their differential diagnosis in cases of mechanical hind foot pain. They must also include, as a part of every sonographic examination of the ankle, an examination of the calcaneus and be aware of the sonographic appearance of stress fractures. If the diagnosis is still uncertain after the sonographic examination, magnetic resonance imaging should be prescribed.

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