The diagnostic accuracy of ultrasound in the detection of foot and ankle fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Jiangfeng Wu, Yunlai Wang, Zhengping Wang


Aims: Foot and ankle injuries are a common presenting complaint in the emergency department. The diagnosis of foot and ankle fractures is conventionally accomplished through X-rays. Whether ultrasound (US) can be considered as a primary scanning modality is still a controversial issue; therefore, we did a meta-analysis to synthesize the diagnostic performance of
ultrasound for foot and ankle fractures.

Material and methods: A comprehensive search was carried out to identify studies in which patients with clinically suspected foot and ankle fractures were assessed by US. Two investigators independently screened the literature and extracted the data. Any discrepancies were resolved via discussion. Study quality was assessed by the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 tool, and pooled sensitivity and specificity of various US findings were determined.

Results: Ten studies with a total of 1065 patients were included. There was significant heterogeneity across the included studies. The pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, negative likelihood ratio, and diagnostic odds ratio for the diagnosis of foot and ankle fractures by US were 0.96 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90-0.99), 0.94 (95% CI, 0.88-0.97), 15.0 (95% CI, 7.9-28.6), 0.04 (95% CI, 0.02-0.11), and 367 (95% CI, 101-1338), respectively. Furthermore, the summary receiver operating characteristic area under the curve was calculated to be 0.99.

Conclusions: Ultrasound has an excellent diagnostic performance for foot and ankle fractures and should be considered as a primary and radiation-free scanning modality in the diagnosis of foot and ankle fractures.


ultrasound; foot and ankle fractures; meta-analysis; systematic review; diagnostic accuracy



  • There are currently no refbacks.