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Augmented Stress Weight-bearing CT for Evaluation of Subtle Lisfranc Injuries in the Elite Athlete.

BACKGROUND: Lisfranc injuries refer to a disruption or displacement of the tarsometatarsal joint of the foot. Subtle Lisfranc injuries can go undiagnosed on conventional imaging leading to devastating consequences and poor functional outcomes for elite athletes. Objective. The objective of this case study is to present a novel imaging technique using weight-bearing computed tomography (CT) with enhanced stress to identify subtle, dynamically unstable Lisfranc injuries. We illustrate this with a case presentation of an elite athlete who ultimately required surgical fixation for a subtle Lisfranc injury.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: To perform an augmented stress weight-bearing CT, the patient was positioned standing, with their feet facing forward, and weight equally distributed. The patient was then coached to symmetrically raise both heels from the scanner platform. This plantarflexion provided augmented stress on the midfoot, allowing for more sensitive imaging of the Lisfranc injury. The weight-bearing CT and augmented stress images undergo 3D reconstruction and postprocessing to render coronal and sagittal images, allowing for comparison of the standard weight-bearing and augmented stress images.

RESULTS: We present the case of a 22-year-old collegiate football lineman sustaining a Lisfranc injury. The injury diagnosis was made by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and clinical examination, without evidence of injury on weight-bearing XR or standard weight-bearing CT. With augmented stress CT imaging, the Lisfranc instability was noted, leading to surgical fixation, and return to sport the next season.

CONCLUSION: We propose this technique for diagnosing subtle, unstable Lisfranc injuries where clinical suspicion persists despite inconclusive imaging, particularly in elite athletes. Further research is needed with larger sample sizes to investigate the sensitivity of this novel imaging technique for the detection of Lisfranc injury.

LEVELS OF EVIDENCE: Level 4: Case Report.

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