The objective of this study was to evaluate sensitivity and specificity of US versus dedicated MRI, taken as the gold standard, in early diagnosis of metatarsal bone stress fractures. Consecutive patients with mechanical pain and swelling of the metatarsal region for less than 3 months and with normal radiographs were included. US and dedicated MRI examinations of the metatarsal bones were performed the same day by experienced rheumatologists with expertise in US and MRI. Reading was undertaken blind to the clinical assessment and MRI/US results. Forty-one feet were analyzed on US and dedicated MRI from 37 patients. MRI detected 13 fractures in 12 patients. Sensitivity of US was 83%, specificity 76%, positive predictive value 59%, and negative predictive value 92%. Positive likehood ratio was 3.45, negative likehood ratio 0.22.
In cases of normal radiographs, US is indicated in the diagnosis of metatarsal bone stress fractures, as it is a low cost, noninvasive, rapid, and easy technique with good sensitivity and specificity. From these data, we propose a new imaging algorithm including US.
Banal F, Gandjbakhch F, Foltz V, Goldcher A, Etchepare F, Rozenberg S, Koeger AC, Bourgeois P, Fautrel B. Sensitivity and specificity of ultrasonography in early diagnosis of metatarsal bone stress fractures: a pilot study of 37 patients. J Rheumatol. 2009 Aug;36(8):1715-9