Using a Tuning Fork To Diagnose A Fracture?

A few weeks ago, one of the guys in the gym came up to me and said “Ash I’ve hurt my foot, can you take a look?”

A fairly standard opener in the gym!

Upon initial inspection, the outer edge of the foot looked quite swollen on both the top and bottom, and based on how the injury occured (twisting the foot over at the bottom of an escalator) I suspected a 5th Metatarsal Fracture (a fairly common fracture, particularly in sport).

I pulled out my 128 Hz Tuning Fork, made it vibrate and placed it on the outside of the foot, a practice I have done many times before but without much result.

Immediately after taking the tuning fork off the patient said that the pain was increased, which is a sign of a fracture!

The test has a high specificity but a negative result doesn’t mean there is no fracture and if suspected it should always be further investigated.

I suggested to the patient that he went and got an X-Ray because of the suspicion of a fracture, which he later did.

The result couldn’t have come back any better for me (although not so good for the patient)!

Below is a copy of the X-Ray taken;


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