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CT SCans for Foot and Ankle Injuries: Audrey Spielmann, MD FRCP(C), discusses foot and ankle CT scans.

Foot and ankle injuries are extremely common in sports, due to a number of actions such as lunging, jumping, running and turning quickly. Proper equipment and safety precautions can prevent many foot and ankle injuries, however, almost every athlete has experienced this type of injury at some point. Foot and ankle CT scans can be a valuable tool in injury detection and treatment.

“One of the most common mechanisms for an ankle injury is an inversion type injury,” says Dr. Audrey Spielmann, a radiologist and partner. “We see this type of injury in many sports such as racquet sports and any kind of running sport such as soccer, football, or rugby. We see it less with hockey players where the ankle is a little more contained within the skate.”

Benefits of Foot & Ankle CT Scans

If you suffer an ankle or foot injury, you may require a CT scan. A CT scan (sometimes called a CAT scan) is a diagnostic exam that uses special x-ray equipment and computers to produce images of various parts of the inside of the body. CT scans can provide more details of bones, internal organs, soft tissue and blood vessels to physicians than regular x-rays.

“CT is excellent to look for bony injuries, especially subtle bone injuries,” says Spielmann. “CT scan is the best out of all the imaging modalities for seeing bony detail, and is complementary with MRI. The other benefit of CT scan is that we can reconstruct the images in multiple planes.

“The other thing that CT is really good for is to assess for any degenerative changes that might be present from repeated injuries, chronic injuries, or perhaps patients who are so-called “weekend warriors” who have had injuries in the past or actually have some degenerative changes and are wondering why they can't do the same activities that they used to be able to do.”

If you have questions about foot and ankle CT scans, contact your family doctor, your sports medicine physician or an imaging centre.

Modified on: Jul 29, 2012

This article is intended for informational purposes only and not as medical advice. Always consult with your primary health care provider before starting any treatment or exercise program.

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