X-rays are widely used in podiatry to diagnose the cause of pain, stiffness, and other symptoms, as well as to manage the treatment of fractures, arthritis and many other types of diseases and injuries that affect the bones and joints. Even though x-rays cannot provide clear images of soft tissues, they can still provide important information about some types of soft tissue injuries, helping to ensure treatment is as successful as possible. X-rays are also used prior to surgery to plan the best approach and are also used following surgery to monitor recovery.
Yes, today’s x-rays use special technology designed to use less radiation while still obtaining clear images. X-rays are very safe, and they play a very important and valuable role in diagnosing and treating many conditions.
X-rays may be performed while the patient is sitting or lying down, depending on the image that is being obtained. During the x-ray exam, the foot and ankle will be carefully positioned, and special cushions or bolsters may be used to keep them in that position while the x-ray is being taken. The lens of the x-ray machine will be placed close to the area of the ankle or foot that is being evaluated, and the x-ray will be clicked on and off. It takes just a moment to capture each image. Usually, more than one x-ray is taken to provide views from different angles. While the images are being taken, the technician will move to another area of the room but will still be able to see the room and the patient.
No, x-rays are completely painless. However, if the foot or ankle is very sore, positioning it during the x-ray exam may cause some brief discomfort.