All Articles

MRI and Forefoot Pain

Jimmy Leung, MD

QUESTION: What is SMIL’s experience regarding imaging of the foot and ankle?

ANSWER: Anterior foot pain is one of the most common conditions of patients referred to the Scottsdale Medical Imaging (SMIL) musculoskeletal radiology group, says Jimmy Leung, MD, a radiologist at SMIL.

“We have five radiologists specializing in musculoskeletal imaging,” Leung says. “Over the years, we have developed a considerable amount of experience in imaging of foot pain from our patient population and our professional relationships with podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons.”

The differential diagnosis for pain around the metatarsophalangeal joints (MTPJ) includes a Morton’s neuroma, capsulitis or a plantar plate tear. MRI is excellent for distinguishing among these.

The challenges of MRI imaging of the foot are that there are many small joints and a lot of anatomic structures in a small area, Leung says.

“You have to have good technical specifics to see small joints. There are many small details that need to be done right to intentionally maximize contrast and spatial resolution,” Leung says. “One of the ways to maximize spatial resolution is to use a 3T MRI. SMIL has three of these units, two in Scottsdale and one in Gilbert.”

The SMIL difference, however, boils down to care, Leung says. “We treat MRI as a tool to guide treatment, not to just image something that hurts. That really is an important difference.” •

Saurabh Verma, et al. MR imaging for evaluation of plantar pain. Contemporary Diagnostic
Radiology. 2014;37(10):3.

We would like to thank you for your review and support of The SMIL Radiology Report by sponsoring your 2018 membership to the Phoenix Fine Dining Group. Your membership invites you to experience the exceptional food and distinctive personality of 30 top-tier Valley restaurants all at great savings; restaurants such as Talavera, Bistro 24, T Cook's and Roka Akor.

To receive your 2018 membership card please complete the form below. You will receive your card by mail - please allow 4 to 6 weeks (your information will not be published or shared with any other organization).

To learn more about Phoenix Fine Dining Group and Preferred Restaurants visit

    Name (required)

    Title (required)

    Speciality (required)

    Name of your practice (required)

    Address (required)

    City, State, Zip (required)


    Please rate how useful this article was to you


    What topics would you like to see covered in upcoming
    editions of the SMIL Radiology Report? (required)

    Other comments suggestions you would like to share with the SMIL Radiology Report team?