Foreign body in foot

Case contributed by Dalia Ibrahim
Diagnosis certain


Fell from a tree in a garden. Now pain and purulent discharge from the lateral plantar aspect of the foot.

Patient Data

Age: 25 years
Gender: Male

An obliquely oriented linear tract is seen along the lateral aspect of the foot extending from the plantar aspect of the foot reaching near the dorsum of the foot. The track shows two smaller hypointense lines within. No enhancement of this tract or adjacent abscess collection.

Based on those radiological findings, a foreign body was considered.


CT shows slight hyperdense attenuation of the aforementioned track.


MRI and CT showing the obliquely oriented linear track traversing the lateral aspect of the foot (arrows)


Foreign body (long thorn) after surgical excision.

Case Discussion

Foreign bodies radio-opacity includes:

  • metallic objects, except aluminum, are opaque
  • most animal bones and glass are opaque
  • most plastic, wood (thorns and splinters), and fish bones are not radiopaque on radiographs

The diagnosis of nonopaque objects may be hard.

CT and US might be helpful in the superficial tissues.

Radiological examinations are important as they facilitate surgical excision based on the accurate location of the FB and its relation to the adjacent muscles, tendons, and vessels.

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