by Dr. Steven Waldman
Why does my podiatrist take X-Rays, and how do they work? X-Rays or “Radiographs” are taken frequently in many types of doctors offices, including podiatrists. Many patients, however, don’t truly understand just how beneficial these pictures can be. In the case of podiatry, a radiograph of your feet can give the doctor amazing amounts of insight into what is going on with your feet, and even overall in your body.
X-rays use a special device that shoots a specific type of radiation at the desired target. Some of the radiation will be able to pass through you (your foot in this case) and some will not. The resulting image is a two-dimensional representation of what radiation was able to pass through your foot at the specific position it was set. Due to the fact that this type of imaging takes a three-dimensional object and turns it into a two-dimensional picture, different views and positions can be taken of the foot to acquire possible imaging of specific parts.
With the correct X-ray, your podiatrist can see a variety of pathologies and either diagnose them, or rule them out. Is your ankle fractured, or just sprained? Most patients understand that an X-ray can be used to see a fracture, or break in the bone, and that is true, but this is only the beginning of what can be visualized with an X-ray. A well versed podiatrist can see signs of stress fractures, osteoarthritis, structural deformities, rheumatoid arthritis, seronagative arthritides (like psoriatic arthritis), Osteomyelitis, tumors, and even signs of gout, just to name a few. And this is just the beginning! If your doctor finds the results of an x-ray inconclusive, there is always the possibility of other imaging modalities like MRI’s and CT-scans to aid in further diagnoses.
The radiograph is an amazing tool at the disposal of your podiatrist. They are useful in a variety of pathologies and are relatively inexpensive and easy to do. Milwaukee Foot Specialists is proud to offer digital x-rays at our offices. This new technology provides us with an image that is much crisper and more detailed than a traditional film x-ray. In addition, the images can be shared on a CD or even emailed much more easily.