Stress Fractures Often Difficult to Confirm on X-Ray: MD Podiatrist

Foot doctors do a few things to diagnose the source of top of foot pain. First, they’ll ask you some questions about your medical history and do a physical exam says Daniel Michaels, DPM. Knowing the nature of the pain (Is it sharp or dull? What activities make it worse?) and the location will help your doctor narrow down the potential causes. Then, they’ll probably do an x-ray.
Stress fractures can sometimes be the hardest cause to accurately diagnose, Dr. Michaels says. “A lot of times, x-rays are negative initially-it’s not until the body starts to heal and lay down bone callus that you start to see radiographic changes,” he explains. If your symptoms sound like a stress fracture but an x-ray comes back negative, your doctor may send you for an MRI, which could pick it up. Or, they may just treat it as a suspected stress fracture, Dr. Michaels says.