MRI

An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, shows healthcare professionals a detailed, three-dimensional image to help form an accurate diagnosis of what is going on inside a particular part of the body. The procedure uses magnetic fields and radio waves to capture the image; unlike CAT scans and traditional X-rays, it does not subject the patient to radiation. Each scan takes a few minutes, with an entire MRI lasting for about 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the body part involved.

A podiatrist would use an MRI to view what is happening inside of the foot or ankle to accurately diagnose a variety of health conditions or problems, such as bone fractures, arthritis, infections, growths, or damage to nerves and/ or soft tissues that traditional X-rays cannot detect.

Certain physical conditions prohibit the use of MRIs in some patients, since the magnetic force can attract metal implants. For example, those with pacemakers, artificial heart valves, and some types of surgically-implanted pumps, stimulators, hearing devices, and surgical clips may not be able to have an MRI performed. Also, if a patient has metal fragments in his or her eye, an MRI cannot be performed. This information would be disclosed in a patient’s questionnaire responses that are gathered prior to performing any imaging tests.

X-Rays

X-rays are a diagnostic test that shows infection, injury, and disease in the bones. A podiatrist would use X-rays to properly diagnose and treat problems with the bones of the foot and ankle. X-rays can reveal abnormal bone growth or changes and can monitor the alignment of bones as they heal after a fracture. X-rays are also used to reveal foreign objects that have penetrated the skin and tissue.

Ultrasound

An ultrasound aims sound waves at a specifically-targeted area of the body to produce and record an image. A podiatrist would use ultrasound images to properly diagnose and treat injuries to ligaments, cartilage, or tendons of the foot or ankle, as well as soft tissue abnormalities or growths.

CAT Scan

A CAT scan is a computed tomography or CT, which doctors use to view cross-sectional, three-dimensional images of an area of the body. A podiatrist would use a CAT scan to take images of the foot or ankle. Since CAT scans show more detail than traditional X-rays, they provide more accurate diagnoses and treatments of injuries, deformities, and diseases.