European Radiology

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 970–979 | Cite as

First metatarsophalangeal joint- MRI findings in asymptomatic volunteers

  • Tobias Johannes Dietrich
  • Flora Luciana Figueira da Silva
  • Marcelo Rodrigues de Abreu
  • Georg Klammer
  • Christian W. A. Pfirrmann
Musculoskeletal

Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the spectrum and frequency of MR findings of the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) in asymptomatic volunteers.

Methods

MR imaging of 30 asymptomatic forefeet was performed with a dedicated extremity 1.5-Tesla system. Participants were between 20 and 49 years of age (mean ± SD: 35.5 ± 8.4 years). Two radiologists assessed cartilage, bone, capsuloligamentous structures, and tendons of first MTPJs on MR images.

Results

Cartilage defects were observed in 27 % (n = 8) of first MTPJs, most frequently located at the base of the proximal phalanx (23 %, n = 7), whereas cartilage defects of the metatarsal head (13 %, n = 4) and the metatarsosesamoid compartment were rare (0 %–3 %, n = 0-1). Bone marrow oedema-like signal changes were present in 37 % (n = 11) and subchondral cysts in 20 % (n = 6) of first MTPJs. Hyperintense areas on intermediate-weighted sequences (range: 30–43 %, n = 9–13) and on fluid-sensitive sequences with fat suppression (range: 33–60 %, n = 10–18) within the medial and lateral collateral ligament complex were common. Plantar recesses (77 %, n = 23) and distal dorsal recesses (87 %, n = 26) were frequently observed.

Conclusions

Cartilage defects, bone marrow oedema-like signal changes, subchondral cysts, plantar recesses, and distal dorsal recesses were common findings on MRI of first MTPJs in asymptomatic volunteers. The collateral ligaments were often heterogeneous in structure and showed increased signal intensity.

Key Points

Cartilage defects of asymptomatic first metatarsophalangeal joints were common on MRI.

The collateral ligaments were often heterogeneous in structure and showed increased signal intensity.

Areas of increased signal intensity within the flexor and extensor tendons were rare.

These observations need to be considered in MR examinations of symptomatic cases.

Keywords

Magnetic resonance imaging Forefoot. Metatarsophalangeal joint Asymptomatic Volunteers 

Abbreviations

EHL

Extensor hallucis longus tendon

ETL

Echo train length

Fat-sup

Fat suppression

FOV

Field of view

FSE

Fast spin-echo

ICC

Intraclass correlation coefficient

IW

Intermediate-weighted

MTPJ

Metatarsophalangeal jointl

NSA

Number of signals acquired

SD

Standard deviation

STIR

Short-Tau inversion recovery

T1-w

T1-weighted

TE

Echo time

TI

Inversion time

TR

Repetition time

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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Johannes Dietrich
    • 1
  • Flora Luciana Figueira da Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marcelo Rodrigues de Abreu
    • 2
  • Georg Klammer
    • 3
  • Christian W. A. Pfirrmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiology, Orthopedic University Hospital BalgristUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Radiology, Hospital Mãe de Deus and Mãe de Deus CenterPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic University Hospital BalgristUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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