X-Ray Ankle 2 Views
The ankle X-ray primarily serves as a diagnostic tool to localize or exclude fractures. Depending on the indications and reason for the X-ray, various images can be made.
Sprains can cause just as much pain and swelling as a broken bone, so it is not easy to tell the difference by just looking at the ankle. There are a few simple rules that have been identified to help determine when an X-ray needs to be done.
Consult your doctor in regard to ordering this X-ray.
Why do you need an Ankle X-ray?
Understanding your body is key to helping it get treated. Three bones; the tibia, fibula and talus make up the ankle joint. The ankle itself consists of two joints; where the tibia and fibula meet and the joint where these two meet the talus.
This X-ray is often used in emergency situations to evaluate the integrity of the ankle joint after a traumatic injury. It is also beneficial in detecting causes of symptoms, including pain, tenderness, bruising, and deformity. Any broken bones or dislocated joints show up clearly on an X-ray, which can aid the treatment plan, progress on proper bone alignment after treatment, and if the bone has healed in a set time.
If your physician decides to go ahead with surgery, X-rays of the ankle are required to plan for surgery and to assess results after the procedure.
You may also be requested to get an Ankle X-ray if your physician suspects cysts, tumors, late-stage infections, fluids in the joint, and other disorders of the ankle.
Your doctor may also order an ankle radiograph if they suspect the following indications:
Blunt trauma to the ankle
- tenderness at the tip or edges of the protruding ankle bone
- tenderness and pain around the ankle bone
- inability to weight bear
- unexplained, non-traumatic ankle pain
When do you need an Ankle X-ray?
If you have recently experienced an injury related to the ankle, you may be experiencing common symptoms such as pain, swelling, and occasional bruising. The extent of the damage is usually proportional to the degree of symptoms being experienced. If you have severe symptoms that persist with the same intensity, seek immediate medical help.
Symptoms that should alert you to the severity of your condition include:
- Ankle unable to bear weight
- Significant swelling
- Sharp pain in the foot or above ankle
- Severity in pain and symptoms persists a few days after the injury
How Do you need to prepare?
No special preparation is required for an Ankle X-ray; however, keep the following points in mind before your appointment:
- If there are chances of pregnancy, inform your physician and radiologist to discuss the exposure limit for the developing fetus
- Remove any jewelry or metal objects that might distort the radiographic image
- Consult the X-ray technician if you wear any on-body devices such as an insulin pump or have metal implants from prior surgeries
- You may be asked to change into the hospital gown for the imaging at the time of the scan
What can you expect?
If you experience pain in your ankle, your doctor will conduct an exam asking about any movements that make your ankle worse. Feel okay to share what you think might have caused it, as it contributes to diagnosing the type of injury you have experienced and pinpoint the location of the damage.
Your doctor may also ask to move your ankle a bit to see the severity of the pain you're experiencing and if your joints are still stable.
Based on the findings from this exam, the doctor may order ankle X-rays to rule out broken bones.
Usually, three X-rays are taken from the front side and at an angle to view the injury appropriately. The technician will reposition the patient's ankle after every picture. You may also take an X-ray of the other ankle for comparison.
A stress test X-ray may be conducted to see how well the talus and tibia fibula joint, held by the ligaments, are winded up. For a stress test, the doctor or technician stretches the ankle joint while the X-ray is taken to see if the pressure moves the bones apart.
What Do Your X-ray Results Mean?
A radiologist will study your results and draw findings, produce a report and send it to your primary health care provider, who will explain what the results mean.
Depending on what is indicated by your X-ray result, your doctor may order further imaging tests such as a CT scan or an MRI scan. These give different and vital information about your condition to your physicians to draw treatment plans.
Related X-rays: Calcaneus X-ray