Diagnostic Examinations

If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain and your podiatrist cannot determine the cause through a physical examination, you may need a computerized axial tomography scan or CAT scan. (This test is also called a computer tomography or CT scan.) Need or CAT scans

Some conditions that a CAT scan may diagnose include:

  • Arch deformities
  • Arthritis, both degenerative and rheumatoid.
  • Bone tumors.
  • Cysts.
  • Flat feet.
  • Other foot and bone deformities.
  • Foreign bodies.
  • Fractures, including stress fractures.
  • Infection.
  • Osteonecrosis (bone death).
  • Overview of CAT scans

A CAT Scan Restrictions:

The amount of radiation that you are exposed to during a CAT scan is minimal, so typically there are no restrictions for having this exam. However, if you are pregnant, especially in your first trimester, it is not recommended that you undergo a CAT scan due to potential adverse effects on the fetus.

Although symptoms may not appear as dramatic as those from a fracture or other trauma, diseases and disorders can have an adverse effect on your feet, ankles, and lower legs. Some conditions are specific to your feet or lower legs, where other diseases, like diabetes, do not relate to your feet but can create feet and leg problems (i.e. diabetic neuropathy).

Screenings for these diseases and disorders can assist in determining proper treatment.

Importance of disease screenings:

The sooner you are diagnosed with a disease or foot disorder, the more effective your treatment can be. Also, if you caught early, enough, you can reduce the severity of some complications that affect your feet and legs.

If you develop symptoms of any type of disease or foot disorder, you should be tested. You can be screened for various diseases, including arthritis and peripheral arterial disease, at your doctor’s office.

Disease and disorders affecting your feet, ankles, and lower legs There are many diseases and disorders that can affect your feet. Some disorders are specific to the foot, ankle, or lower leg while others are diseases that can affect your entire body, and also can cause foot- related issues.

Some diseases and disorders than can have an impact on your foot health include:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Freeberg’s Disease
  • Gout
  • Kaposi’s Sarcoma
  • Kholer’s Disease
  • Maffucci’s Syndrome
  • Ollier’s Disease
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Raynaud’s Disease
  • Seiver’s Disease
  • Sever’s Disease

Pain and discomfort in your feet and lower legs can hinder your ability to perform simple daily activities like walking, standing, and even sleeping. Through a series of tests and assessments, a podiatrist can determine the cause of the pain and recommend treatment.

Need for physical exams:

Persistent pain and discomfort in your feet, ankle or lower legs is not a normal occurrence. It is important to undergo a physical examination, not only to determine the underlying cause of the pain and discomfort, but also to find suitable treatment because some conditions could worsen if not properly treated it is important to have a podiatric examination. When you notice pain, discomfort, and other symptoms of foot and ankle disorders.

Overview of podiatric physical exam during a routine podiatric physical examination, your doctor will complete various checks of your feet and ankles. A basic routine will most likely include:

  • Hands on Examination – Doctor will feel feet for abnormalities and tender areas.
  • Movement assessment – mobility of the feet and ankle will be checked.
  • Muscle appraisal – through various tests. Doctor. Will check for muscle strength.
  • Other tests – if the doctor suspects a particular conditions. Additional condition specific tests may be performed.
  • Stability evaluation – the stability of the ankle will be tested.

Visual inspection of:

  • Shoes for abnormal wear patterns.
  • Walking gait to check for abnormal step patterns.
  • Overall foot shape to look for deformity or other abnormality.
  • Skin condition.
  • Health of toenails.
  • Limb alignment.

If you’re suffering from continual pain or discomfort in your ankles, feet or lower legs schedule an appointment for a podiatric examination as soon as possible.

Physical examinations and x-rays are great diagnostic tools but in some cases magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is needed to better diagnose pain, discomfort, or swelling in your feet, ankles and lower legs.Unlike conventional x-rays were CAT scans and MRI scans do not use radiation, which makes this a

Unlike conventional x-rays were CAT scans and MRI scans do not use radiation, which makes this a valuable tool for patients who cannot undergo radiation related tests. Also, MRIs are better at detecting soft-tissue conditions than x-rays.

Need for MRI diagnostic testing:

In a podiatric setting, MRIs are often used as a noninvasive tool to better examine the internal workings of feet and ankles.

Your doctor may use magnetic resonance imaging to diagnose:

  • Arthritis and other joint damage.
  • Bone injury, including fractures.
  • Cartilage damage.
  • Infection.
  • Ligament injury, including springs and tears.
  • Soft tissue tumors.
  • Tendon damage including Achilles tendon there.

Overview of MRIs

Instead of using radiation like x-rays, MRI exams utilize a combination of magnetic field and radio waves to produce images of the soft tissue and bones in your feet and ankles.

During an MRI scan your foot (or whichever body part is being examined) is placed inside MRI machine, which has a strong magnet similar to an x-ray, you should not experience any usual sensations during the scan after the scan your doctor will be able to review the images and discuss any findings with you.

MRI restrictions

Because MRI scans use a magnetic field to create images. There are some limitations to who can undergo the scans you may not be a good candidate for an MRI if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Artificial heart valves.
  • Artificial limbs or metal prostheses.
  • Brain aneurysms clips.
  • Cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator.
  • Electronic inner ear (cochlear) implants for hearing impairment.
  • Implanted medical devices with metal, including IUDs.
  • Implanted pump for insulin or narcotics.

Although some of the above conditions may not hinder you from having an MRI. Be sure your doctor is aware of the condition before undergoing the scan.

Physical podiatric examinations and x-rays can help determine the cause of problems with feet, ankles and lower legs. Sometimes, however, these tools cannot give a clear glimpse of the issues. When these initial diagnostic tools cannot diagnose the condition and ultrasound is used to help a doctor evaluate pain, swelling, infection, and other symptoms.

Why and ultrasound may be needed and ultrasound can be very helpful in diagnosing various conditions. Many soft tissue problems and bone injuries can be seen or clearly using an ultrasound instead of a conventional x-ray system.

Some of the many conditions that can be discovered using an ultrasound include:

  • Bursitis.
  • Cartilage injury.
  • Foreign bodies.
  • Heel Spurs.
  • Ligament, tendon tears and ruptures.
  • Muscle sprains and strains.
  • Neuroma.
  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Soft tissue masses and certain tumors.
  • Stress fracture.
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • Tendinitis.

In some cases ultrasound may also be used as a treatment for the relief of:

  • Bursitis.
  • Sprains.
  • Tendinitis.
  • Ultrasound overview

Ultrasounds work by using the same principles involved in sonar it ultrasound sends sound waves and records echoing waves while a computer turns the waves into a real-time picture.

The steps of an ultrasound procedure include:

Applying a water-based gel to the foot, ankle or lower leg (whichever body part is being examined) pressing a sensor (called a transducer) against the skin – angling and sweeping the sensor to get best view of area.

In many cases the ultrasound can be completed in about 30 min. to an hour.

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