Peroneal Tendon Syndromes Workup

Updated: Mar 07, 2018
  • Author: Steven J Karageanes, DO, FAOASM; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Imaging Studies

See the list below:

  • Radiography is the first-line study for excluding fractures of the lateral malleolus or calcaneus, arthritis, or loose bodies. Radiography is also useful to observe a migration of the os peroneum in a peroneus longus tendon rupture. Most importantly, radiographs are used to identify a rim fracture, which is an avulsion of the superior peroneal retinaculum from the lateral malleolus. A talar stress view is helpful; if more than 15° of tilt is seen, talar instability that can lead to peroneal instability may be present.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the criterion standard for identifying peroneal tendon injuries, which are demonstrated by the high signal intensity within the affected tendon on T2-weighted axial views. [6, 14, 15, 16, 17] Kijowski et al found that the presence of uniform or predominantly intermediate signal intensity within the peroneal tendons on 3 consecutive axial proton density-weighted images is a highly sensitive and moderately specific indicator of symptomatic peroneal tendinopathy, as well as the presence of circumferential fluid greater than 3 mm in maximal width. [14]

  • Ultrasonography is useful for detecting all types of peroneal lesions. In particular, real-time ultrasonography can be performed to assess dynamic stability. [7, 11, 24, 25] This approach is institution dependent because not all facilities are proficient with musculoskeletal ultrasonography. However, Neustadter et al found the positive predictive value of dynamic ultrasonography for peroneal tendon subluxation was 100% in 13 patients. [11]

  • Computed tomography (CT) scanning is useful for evaluating bony irregularities and suspected fractures, particularly in the calcaneus. [26] Heterotopic ossifications can also be identified more accurately with CT scans.

  • Tenography is useful for assessing large lesions of the tendons but is rarely used in practical settings.


Other Tests

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  • Electromyelography (EMG) may be useful in difficult cases with profound weakness and no significant damage to the peroneal tendons.

  • EMG should be used in instances of drop foot.