The Calcaneus bone is also commonly called the heel bone. A calcaneus X-ray is usually ordered to look for evidence of heel bone pathology or to exclude fractures and diagnose causes for complaints of symptoms such as pain, swelling, and tenderness.
The calcaneus is at the back of the foot near the ankle, just below the bones of the lower leg. It also plays a vital role in weight-bearing and stability.
Why do you need a Calcaneus X-ray?
Calcaneus X-rays are most commonly ordered to exclude or treat Calcaneus fractures or a broken heel bone. There are two types of calcaneus fractures, and one of them includes an affected subtalar joint that allows side-to-side movement of the foot. The motion is vital for walking or treading on uneven surfaces. Fractures that involve this subtalar joint are usually the most severe.
Patients with calcaneus fractures and pathologies may experience the following symptoms:
- ●Pain in the back of the foot
- ●Bruising near the heel bone
- ●Swelling at the site of fracture
- ●Inability to maneuver uneven surfaces
- ●Inability to bear weight on the heel
With a minor or hairline calcaneus fracture, the pain may not be severe, but it will be noticeable enough to prevent you from walking normally. This is because your tendons alone cannot support your body weight, and your gait will be affected. Immediately seek medical care if your ankle feels unstable, and your foot cannot bear your body weight.
When do you need it?
Understanding your body is key to helping it get treated.
This X-ray is often used in emergency situations to evaluate the integrity of the subtalar 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 Calcaneus are required to plan for surgery and to assess results after the procedure. You may also be requested to get a Calcaneus X-ray if your physician suspects tumors, late-stage infections, fluids in the joint, and other disorders of the heel bone.
Calcaneus X-rays are ordered for a variety of reasons, including the following indications:
- ●After a fall from a height where the patient lands onto the feet
- ●During a motor vehicle accident
- ●Inability to bear weight
- ●After violent twisting injuries
- ●Pathological processes such as osteoporosis, tumors, or cysts
How do you need to prepare?
No special preparation is required for a Calcaneus X-ray; however, keep the following points in mind before your appointment:
- ●If there is a chance 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 to expect?
X-raying is a routine, painless procedure that uses radiation to image anatomy. The patient will be positioned supine or seated with the affected limb extended on an X-ray table between the X-ray machine and the cassette with the X-ray film.
The technician will cover any parts not being imaged with a lead sheet to avoid any unnecessary exposure to radiation. In most cases, when an X-ray is performed to determine injury, the technician takes special care (splint, brace) to prevent further damage.
You will be asked to hold a particular position for a few seconds without moving while the image is being made. The stances required for the X-rays may feel uncomfortable, but they need to be held for only a few seconds. If the technician feels the radiographs obtained are blurry, the procedure will have to be redone.
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.
Calcaneus fractures can be pretty difficult to bear and most often require surgical treatment. Surgery is done to reconstruct and restore the normal anatomy of the heel to allow the patient an active quality of life. Based on your X-ray findings, your doctor will order lab tests and imaging to draw up an appropriate treatment plan.
Related X-rays: Ankle 2V X-ray
Frequently ordered together
X-Ray Ankle 2 Views
X-Ray Ankle 3 Views
X-Ray Ankles Both AP and Lateral
X-Ray Calcaneus 2 Views
X-Ray Foot 2 Views
X-Ray Foot 3 Views
X-Ray Ankle 2 Views-Left
X-Ray Ankle 2 Views-Right
X-Ray Ankle 3 Views-Left
X-Ray Ankle 3 Views-Right
X-Ray Ankle AP and Lateral-Left
X-Ray ANKLE COMPLETE
X-Ray ANKLE COMPLETE-Right
X-Ray ANKLE COMPLETE-Left
X-Ray Foot PA-Left
X-Ray Foot 2 Views-Left
X-Ray Foot 2 Views-Right
X-Ray Foot 3 Views-Left
X-Ray Foot 3 Views-Right
X-Ray Foot PA-Right
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