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X-ray and Foot Pain. Should I get one?

Eltham Foot Clinic > X-ray and Foot Pain. Should I get one?

We have all had the experience the pain of bumping our toe on the corner of the table leg, kick a step while traversing up them or had something dropped on our foot. Most people won’t think anything of it and after having their momentary out of body experience will usually walk off the injury. Unfortunately, there remain quite a few people who will never know what damage they have done to their foot resulting in chronic foot pain. Further, those who usually seek help often get wrong advice (let’s not start on those who have had x-rays when they’ve needed an ultrasound that’s another story).

Thankfully, there are some people out there who will either seek a professional or second opinion for their problem. How bad could bumping a toe possibly be?

Take these series of x-rays for example. This individual stubbed their toe on their bedside table. After two professional opinions, neither imaging the area, she was advised that the pain will reduce in the next few days.

Although not clear (emphasis put on getting more than one view on an x-ray), this lady has managed to nicely break her proximal phalanx. This is what we call an impacted oblique fracture with volar angulation and dorsal displacement. Essentially, what was a case of ‘buddy tape the toe’ is now a case of ‘this toe needs surgical fixation.’ 

Here is another case of a lady who was busy cooking up a storm during the Christmas period when she started experiencing foot pain. She presented with pain at the top of her foot but was advised that supportive footwear will help her with pain. After 2 weeks of ongoing pain which was throbbing through the night she presented with a significant limp. There was suspicion for a 4th metatarsal stress fracture and what we call a ‘periosteal reaction and oedema’ was seen on musculoskeletal ultrasound. So she was sent for a x-ray which confirmed a 4th metatarsal stress fracture.

Lucky last, dropping things on your feet can be dangerous too, be it big or small. This next x-ray is a condition called Freiberg’s infraction (note the flattening of the second metatarsal head). It can significantly affect someones quality of life because it results in a loss of blood supply to someones second toe joint causing significant arthritis resulting in chronic foot pain. It’s what’s called avascular necrosis. Caught early, no impact on the joint is made and the person will go on to live a life with pain free feet. Luckily, this case was caught nice and early so treatment involved 8 weeks in a moon boot and orthotics to take pressure off the second toe joint. Without adequate pressure relief there is a high chance this will reoccur. 

All these cases had one thing in common…the people affected had a feeling that something wasn’t right despite being told by other health professionals or friends that nothing was the problem or the foot pain will settle in time. 

The best advice is to always seek another opinion if you’re not given a diagnosis or have not been sent for further investigations. The right treatment swiftly can make all the difference between having a problem solved or a problem causing chronic pain.

If you’re experiencing ongoing foot pain without diagnosis give us a call on 9431 1138 or book here. We are highly trained in the use of diagnostic imaging be it ultrasound, x-ray or MRI to be able to identify and give you a solution to your problem.