An X-ray is a form of electromagnetic energy. Podiatrists use this energy to make an image of your foot showing the soft tissues, tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. They order X-rays of the foot to be taken from different views: the front, side, and one at an angle.
The way an X-ray works is a film is put behind the part of your body having the X-ray. The X-ray machine shoots out X-ray particles that pass through your body and onto the film. The more X-rays that pass through and hit the film, the darker that part of the X-ray will be. Dense parts of your body, like bones, show up white on the film because they block out the X-ray particles.
You might have heard that X-rays are harmful, but don’t worry. Doctors and radiologists take precautions to help keep you safe. The problem with X-rays is that they are a form of ionizing radiation, which means that when an X-ray hits an atom, it can knock electrons off the atom creating an ion (electrically charged atom). The charge of an ion can break DNA chains, which could result in death of the broken chain and cause various diseases. The DNA chain could also result in a mutation and cancerous cells. To prevent these complications, only the minimum amount of radiation required to get the best results is used by trained radiologists. Also, a lead apron or lead shield is used to protect certain parts of your body. X-rays are safe when used with care.
X-ray technology is an important tool that your podiatrist may use to help with the diagnostic process. It lets doctors see straight through your human tissue to examine any broken bones, detect arthritis or osteoporosis, and even identify unexplained pains without having to perform surgery to peek around. It can also help find the cause of tenderness, swelling, and deformities in addition to detecting cysts and tumors. They are also useful after surgery to make sure that you are healing correctly.
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