When you injure your foot or ankle, it is common to feel pain and discomfort and observe swelling and redness. Other than that, it is sometimes difficult to understand what has happened beneath the skin. Fortunately, many podiatrists have access to technology that allows them to better diagnose and treat these unseen injuries. The most common are X-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, and ultrasound, but how exactly do these imaging techniques differ?
X-rays allow podiatrists to obtain images of the skeletal system by using ionizing radiation. They are most commonly used to diagnose and treat bone issues in the feet and ankles, such as abnormal growth, fractures, or infections.
CAT, or computed tomography (CT), scans are similar to X-rays, but they produce three-dimensional images of the body. In addition to bones, CAT scans are useful for viewing soft tissues and blood vessels.
An MRI, which stands for magnetic resonance imaging, utilizes magnets and radio waves to produce a three-dimensional image without subjecting the patient to radiation. They allow podiatrists to observe fractures, arthritis, and nerve damage. However, they cannot be used on individuals who have metal implants, like pacemakers or valves.
Finally, an ultrasound sends high-frequency sound waves into the body and collects the signals that bounce off internal structures to produce a real-time image. This allows podiatrists to observe blood flow and the movement of the body’s organs, ligaments, cartilage, or tendons.
The doctors at the Foot and Ankle Centers of North Houston place a high emphasis on an accurate diagnosis in order to allow for a speedy recovery. They use some of the most innovative procedures and analyses in their six offices in the North Houston, TX area so that you can get back on your feet as quickly as possible. The doctors can provide both surgical and non-surgical solutions for sports injuries, bunions, ingrown toenails, and more. If you have any questions or would like to request an appointment, contact us or call us at (281) 444-4114!