Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Bone Stress Injuries of the Foot and Ankle

Markus Sormaala

Doctoral dissertation, December 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Department of Radiology.

Bone stress injuries of the foot have been known for more than 150 years. For a century, their primary diagnostic imaging tool has been radiography. However, currently the golden standard for establishing the diagnosis of stress injuries is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Although the injury type has been fairly well documented in the earlier literature, little information is available on the healing of stress injuries located in e.g. the talus and calcaneus.

The current study retrospectively evaluated the stress injuries of the foot and ankle treated at the Central Military Hospital over a period of eight years in patients who underwent MRI for stress injury of the foot. The imaging studies of the patients were reevaluated to determine the exact nature of the stress injury. Moreover, the hospital records of the patients were reviewed to determine the healing of stress injuries of the talus and calcaneus. Patients with a stress fracture in the talus were recalled for a follow-up examination and MRI scan one to six years after the initial injury to determine if the fracture had completely healed, clinically and radiologically.

The bone stress injuries of the foot were found to affect more than one bone in a majority of the cases. The talus and the calcaneus were the bones most commonly affected. In the talus, the most common site for the injuries was the head of the bone, and in the calcaneus, the posterior part of the bone. The injuries in these bones were associated with injuries in the surrounding bones.

Stress injuries in the calcaneus seemed to heal well. No complications were seen in the primary healing process. The patients were, however, sometimes compelled to refrain from physical training for up to months. In the talus, minor degenerative findings of the articular surface were seen in half of the patients who participated in a follow-up MRI scan and radiographs taken one to six years after the initial injury. Half of the patients also reported minor exercise related symptoms in the follow-up. The symptoms were, however, not noticeable in everyday life.

The title page of the publication

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Last updated 25.10.2006

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