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When do I need a Foot X-ray?

Foot injuries hurt, but when do you need a foot x-ray? Because there are so many bones, ligaments and nerves in your feet, even stubbing your toe causes lots of pain. So, how can you tell if a sore foot needs an x-ray? And why is it important to come in and see us, even if you don’t think your foot is broken? We’ll cover all that (and more!) in today’s post!

Diagnosing a Broken Foot what causes pain on top of my foot

It’s important to remember: even if you can walk, your foot may still be broken! That was the case for our patient Cassia G., who brought in her daughter for a dance injury that took her out of her sport, but didn’t keep her from walking around. When they saw Dr. Walsh, here’s what they discovered:

“Dr. Walsh is excellent with dancers and athletes. Last spring my daughter suffered a “dancers break” in her foot that had her sidelined at the start of competition season. Dr. Walsh was so positive and encouraging that she would bounce back from her injury. She treated the fracture and then helped her get it rehabbed so that she was able to return for the end of the season, win first place with her solo, and successfully tryout for the [competitive dance team.]. We are so thankful for a doctor who partnered with us to help my daughter keep doing what she loves! Highly recommend!”

What’s most important about this review is that our patient didn’t know her foot was broken. Until she came in to our Spring, TX podiatry practice, that is. Luckily, Cassia’s daughter got the right diagnosis and got back to what she loves. That’s why it’s important to get a foot x-ray after any foot injury. Because, even if you can walk, you could have a foot fracture. And we can only diagnose and treat your broken bone if we x-ray your foot. Luckily, using our in-office x-ray in Spring or Tomball, we can offer you a quick and accurate diagnosis. That way, you’ll avoid complications of untreated foot injuries.

Complications of Foot Fractures and Torn Ligaments

Recently, we learned that LA Clippers star Paul George was sidelined with a bone edema. This is a somewhat common sports injury. But it’s one many of you might not know about. So we’re helping you learn more about bone edemas, which could develop after a broken foot or torn ligament.

Here’s the story: if you have a bone marrow edema (BME), it means too much fluid built up in parts of your foot related to your bone marrow. BMEs are usually the result of a bone injury, like a foot fracture.  Although, in some cases, you may get a bone marrow edema with cancer or osteoporosis.

What causes a bone marrow edema?

Typically, this injury develops in your foot after:

  • You break a foot bone
  • Tearing a ligament in your foot
  • You get a bone bruise. (That’s an injury that fractures the outer layer of your bone. While it doesn’t cause an actual foot break, it does cause bleeding beneath your periosteum—the protective covering over your bone.)
  • Developing osteoarthritis or osteoporosis
  • You’ve developed a tumor on your bone

Diagnosing and Treating a Bone Edema with a Foot X-Ray

If you’ve already gotten a foot x-ray, you may still ask for a bone marrow edema screening. Sometimes, BMEs don’t cause any symptoms. Other times, though, you may develop severe bone pain. Also, the bone and nearby joints may stop working properly because of built-up fluid. At that point, you may find it difficult to move. And playing sports will be out of the question.

We can only detect a BME using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). But you may not need this imaging test if you properly diagnose and treat a broken foot with an x-ray and immobilization. Why is that the case? We can offer relief for many BME symptoms by treating your underlying conditions. Such as a broken foot or a torn ligament.

Still, if treating your broken bone isn’t enough, we may also recommend surgery. Thankfully, with foot surgery, we can relieve the fluid build-up while repairing or removing underlying conditions. In that way, we can help address your broken bone or other foot injury. All at the same time as we relieve the built-up fluid in your bone.

When Do I Need a Foot X-Ray?

Now that you know how many problems can develop from an undiagnosed broken bone, you should know the answer. Get a foot x-ray as soon as you hurt your foot. Afraid of long lines (or exposure) in the emergency room?

Not a problem. At Louetta Foot & Ankle Specialists, we offer in-office x-rays to our patients. Meaning quick and accurate diagnoses, without the endless waits. So contact our office for an immediate appointment after an injury. That’s what our patient, Loretta S. did. And, as she recently shared, “Received same today appointment to check for possible fracture of toe on an old surgical site after a near fall. Very impressed with their concern. All is well. Thank you very much.”