Ultrasound features of sole of foot pathology: a review

Claire Filippini, James Teh

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2019; 19: 145–151
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2019.0021

Foot pain is a common problem among adults, with approximately 19% of men and 25% of women describing significant daily foot pain that limits their ability to function. Older adults, the obese, and active adults participating in sports involving running and jumping are at increased risk of developing pathology. Problems affecting the sole of the foot are often the cause of pain. Ultrasound is an extremely useful method of quickly and accurately localizing and characterizing pathology of the foot. The wide availability of ultrasound combined with its low cost, lack of ionizing radiation, high spatial resolution, multiplanar capability and excellent patient tolerance makes it an ideal technique for assessing the superficial structures in the sole of the foot. Ultrasound has the advantage of dynamic assessment over other imaging modalities. Furthermore, Doppler interrogation allows a real-time assessment of vascularity, not possible using other techniques. The ability to perform extended field of view images allows improved image presentation, which has increased clinicians’ acceptance of the technique. Finally, ultrasound can be used to guide interventional procedures. This review article will consider the ultrasound features of pathology commonly affecting the sole of the foot, and will describe MRI correlates that can be expected.

plantar fasciitis, Baxter’s neuropathy, plantar fibromatosis, epidermal cyst, adventitial bursa