Use of radioisotope bone scans in children with obscure foot pain

Salar J. Hazany, Semon R. Bader, David Hazany, Nancy T. Ly, Norman Y. Otsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Foot pain in pediatric patients often presents as a diagnostic challenge. Studies in adults with foot pain have shown that bone scans are valuable diagnostic tools, especially in instances in which clinical evaluation and conventional radiography have failed to provide a clear answer. To our knowledge, no similar investigation has ever been conducted in the pediatric population. The objective of this study was to determine the utility of bone scans as a diagnostic tool for children with foot pain of unclear etiology. Our secondary objective was to determine whether obtaining a bone scan, in fact, alters the treatment plan of such patients. Chart review was done, documenting the prebone scan versus post bone scan diagnosis and treatment plans. We found that bone scans were diagnostically useful in 38 of 49 [77.6%, 66-87, 90% confidence interval (CI)] cases, helping to establish new diagnoses in 31 of 49 (63%, 51-75, 90% CI) cases, and directing the treatment of children with clinically unclear foot pain in 31 of 49 (63%, 51-75, 90% CI) cases. We conclude that children between the age of 2 and 11 years who present with unilateral or bilateral foot pain of unclear clinical etiology, with a normal or inconclusive radiograph and physical examination, and who had no previous magnetic resonance imaging and/or computed tomography scan, may benefit from the use of a bone scan to guide diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-256
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics Part B
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • bone scan
  • bone scintigraphy
  • obscure foot pain in children
  • pediatric foot pain
  • pediatric orthopedics
  • radioisotope bone scan
  • scintigraphy
  • technetium-99 bone scan
  • unknown cause of limp in child
  • unknown foot pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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