What is the MRI appearance of stress fractures in the foot?
Stress fractures occur as a result of chronic repetitive injury. The most common locations for stress fractures in the foot are the calcaneus and the metatarsal shafts. Fracture lines will appear as bandlike linear regions of low signal intensity on T1-weighted images. T2 weighted images will demonstrate high signal intensity within the medullary cavity surrounding the fracture, representing bone marrow edema ( Figure 57-4 ). Edema within the periosteum and surrounding soft tissues will also often be present. A “stress reaction” represents a less severe injury with similar imaging findings, except for absence of a low T1-weighted signal intensity fracture line. Stress reactions and stress fractures will typically heal spontaneously after several weeks of reduction in activity.