by Dr. Christopher Milkie
If you have ever seen a doctor for foot or ankle pain, you probably had an x-ray taken. X-rays are used to determine whether a bone or joint problem is present. A negative result usually indicates some other than the bones are causing your pain. That something other is called soft tissue, which refers to ligaments, tendons and muscles. There is much more soft tissue in your foot and ankle than bones, therefore a condition of it is more common.
How can we diagnosis your soft tissue condition? One answer is Diagnostic Ultrasound. This imaging technology has been around for many years. It hasn’t been until the last 3 years that we’ve been using it in an office setting. We are referring to the same imaging that is used to see the unborn in the uterus. And just like that technology, use of it for the foot and ankle is 100% safe.
Many foot and ankle conditions can be diagnosed with Diagnostic Ultrasound. The most common reason we use it in our practice is to image the bottom of the heel. Heel pain is an extremely common condition we see every day. Initially, an x-ray is taken to determine if a bone or joint condition is present. If not, the heel pain is probably due to a soft tissue problem. The most common soft tissue problem in the foot is called Plantar Fascitis.
Plantar Fascitis will show up on the ultrasound as an inflammation. Once diagnosed, this condition is usually remedied with conventional anti-inflammatory treatments. Another common soft tissue condition found on an ultrasound of the heel is called Plantar Fasciosis. This is a thickened Plantar Fascia ligament. Treatment for it is much more unconventional such as Shockwave Therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection and surgery.
Although Diagnostic Ultrasound is offered by most hospitals, there are advantages of having it done in an office setting. First and foremost, we as foot and ankle experts read ultrasounds on a daily basis. A Radiologist may only read a few foot images in a month. Also, office imaging is done faster than hospital imaging. Your doctor can even inform you of your diagnosis on the spot. Last but not least, Diagnostic Ultrasound is less expensive in the office. What’s more, it is covered by most health insurance plans.
If you are suffering with a foot or ankle condition that just won’t go away, Diagnostic Ultrasound imaging may be the answer. An accurate diagnosis is often what’s missing from unresponsive foot and ankle pain. With the correct diagnosis, we are confident that our experience, expertise and leading edge treatment technology can lead to a favorable outcome for you.