Stress Fracture Indications
A stress fracture is not an easy injury to identify. The difference between a sore foot and a stress fracture can convert a few patient visits into almost a $1,000 increase in revenue. Of greater importance is the degree of improvement in patient care and the optimizing of diagnostic data interpretation. These factors are essential to both doctor and patient.
A stress fracture can be difficult to diagnose because the fracture site may obscure viewing of the fracture site itself. Frequently, a stress fracture is characterized by pain, possible swelling and little else. Sometimes a faint fracture line may be present but seeing it is not always easy. A hurried look may lead the doctor into missing the details of the fracture.
Additional views are sometimes helpful in making this diagnosis. Unfortunately, additional views may be equally difficult to discern so there may be little help for seeing what is actually there. In this case, it may be helpful to lower the KVp and try another exposure. Lower KVp, softer X-rays, may help in seeing a slightly stressed bone more easily than if using a harder beam of X-rays.
Using the ROI option can help in seeing stress fractures because the area under question can be optimized for Contrast and Brightness. The ROI area to be examined should include not much more than the joint where a suspicious spot may exist.
Frequently, a stress fracture can be accompanied by a rise in temperature and this can frequently be seen by thermography. Deep stress fractures may be obscured by the thickness of the foot itself thereby causing attenuation in temperature levels. An increase in temperature of 0.5 degrees C can be helpful in identifying where a hotter spot is located.