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Foot Pain

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Foot Pain

  • History
  1. Mechanism of foot injury
  2. Pain location (as well as timing and character)
  3. Associated swelling or Ecchymosis
  4. Neurologic symptoms (foot weakness, Paresthesias)
  5. Provocative activities
  6. Prior foot injury or surgery
  7. Inability to bear weight on affected foot
  • Exam
  1. Compare with opposite, unaffected foot
  2. Inspection
    1. Deformity
    2. Ecchymosis
    3. Focal soft tissue swelling
    4. Skin Discoloration
    5. Wounds (e.g. Lacerations or scars)
  3. Palpation over bony landmarks
    1. Proximal fifth Metatarsal
    2. Tarsal Navicular Bone
    3. Joint margins (interphalangeal joints and lis franc joint)
  4. Function
    1. Active and passive foot range of motion
    2. Muscle Strength
      1. Plantar flexion and dorsiflexion
      2. Inversion and eversion
    3. Sensation
    4. Dorsalis pedis pulse, posterior pulse and Capillary Refill
  • Imaging
  1. XRay Indications (Anteroposterior, Lateral and Oblique views)
    1. See Foot Fracture
    2. See Foot XRay in Osteoarthritis
    3. Foot XRay is first-line imaging in nearly all cases of Foot Pain
    4. Ottawa Ankle Rule may be used to direct imaging in Ankle Sprain
      1. However, protocol does not apply to direct foot Trauma
    5. Additional views to consider (beyond standard anteroposterior, lateral and oblique views)
      1. Weight bearing (e.g. suspected Lisfranc Fracture)
      2. Canale View (talar neck)
      3. Harris View (Calcaneal Fracture)
  2. CT Indications (when XRay is not diagnostic)
    1. Subtle Fractures (esp. midfoot)
    2. Stress Fracture (follow-up to demonstrate healing)
    3. Tarsal Coalition
  3. MRI Indications (when XRay is not diagnostic)
    1. Morton's Neuroma (minimum of 5 mm lesion and corresponding clinical findings)
    2. Accessory Bone Pain
    3. Plantar Fasciitis
    4. Stress Fracture
    5. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  4. Ultrasound (when XRay is not diagnostic, operator dependent)
    1. Morton's Neuroma
    2. Plantar Fasciitis
    3. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  5. Bone scan Indications (when XRay is not diagnostic)
    1. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • References
  1. Feden and Kiel (2017) Crit Dec Emerg Med 31(11): 3-10
  2. Ahn (2007) Am Fam Physician 76(7):975-83 [PubMed]