An X-ray (radiography) is a simple test in which an X-ray beam (a form of electromagnetic radiation) is passed through the foot to create a two-dimensional picture of the bones that form the joint. It can help your doctor view the inside of your foot without making an incision. The lateral projection of the foot examines the phalanges, metatarsals, and tarsal bones that make up the foot. The lateral projection additionally examines the talocrural joint. The doctor may order an X-ray to examine an area where you are experiencing pain or discomfort.
Prior to the test, consider the following: Wear loose, comfortable clothing that you can easily move around in. Doctor may ask you to wear a hospital gown for the test. Remove any jewelry or other metallic items from your body. Tell your doctor or radiologist if you have metal implants from prior surgeries. These implants can block X-rays from passing through your body and creating a clear image. In some cases, you may need to take a contrast dye before your X-ray. The contrast dye is a substance that helps to improve the quality of images.
The foot X-ray is used to find the cause of common signs and symptoms such as pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformities in the foot. It can detect broken bones or dislocated joints. After a broken bone has been set, an X-ray can help determine whether the bones are in proper alignment and whether they have healed properly. If surgery is required, an X-ray may be taken to plan for the surgery and to assess the results of the operation. Also, an X-ray can help to detect cysts, tumors, and later-stage infections of the bones.
An X-ray technologist or radiologist can perform an X-ray in a hospital’s radiology department or a clinic that specializes in diagnostic procedures. The test involves the following procedures: The patient may be supine or upright depending on comfort. The affected leg is externally rotated until the distal limb is parallel to the table. The lateral aspect of the foot is in contact with the image receptor. The foot is in slight dorsiflexion. The planter surface should be perpendicular to the image receptor. Stay still while the images are being taken. This will provide the clearest images possible.