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X-Ray Toes 2 Views

X-raying Basics

The toes are a frequent cause of visits to emergency treatment centers due to trauma injuries. Toes X-ray is a part of a two-view toes series that includes all the phalanges, toes of interest, and the bones in the midfoot (distal half of metatarsals).

There are two standard toe views, and both are done when weight-bearing if the patient can manage it. 

Why Do You Need A Toes X-ray? 

Toe injuries are often attained from trauma or hyperextension of the toe. Traumatic causes usually include hitting your toe on something, such as a wall or furniture. Hyperextension involves extending the joints beyond their normal range. This type of injury is common when your toe gets stuck in something, and you keep moving forward. 

X-rays are also a valuable diagnostic tool in detecting cysts, tumors, and late-stage infections of the bones. 

Toe X-rays are also taken when your doctor needs to observe the proper healing and alignment of bones, post-surgery or post-treatment. If surgery is planned, an X-ray needs to be taken to prepare for the operation and target the procedure results. 

When Do You Need It? 

Your doctor may request Toe radiographs for a variety of indications, including:  

● fractures 
● dislocation 
● foreign body 
● general toe pain
● osteomyelitis 
● pathologies such as osteoarthritis and gout 

Symptoms around toe injuries can vary depending on the severity of the pain. the most common symptoms are: 

● pain, often in the entire toe and the surrounding areas
● tenderness
● swelling
● discomfort in moving your toe around
● joint instability
● bruising

Patients also report feeling a pop or tear when the injury is sustained, especially if it's severe.

How Do You Need To Prepare?

There is no special preparation required for a Toe 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 Can You Expect?

If you experience pain in your toe, your doctor will conduct an exam asking about any movements that make your toe worse. Feel okay to share what you think might have caused it, as it contributes to diagnosing the type of injury you have sustained and pinpoint the location of the damage. 

Your doctor may also ask to move your toe a bit to see how severe is the pain you're experiencing and if your joints are still stable.  

Based on the findings from this exam, the doctor may order toe X-rays to rule out broken bones.

In the radiography room, the patient will be asked to lie supine or sit upright on the table while flexing the knee so the toes make contact with the X-ray detector. A trauma patient might not be able to bend knees, in which case the technician will place wedges under the foot, and the technician will take special care not to further the damage.

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. 

If the results show partial tears with < 2mm malalignment, you will require immobilization or a walking boot for 4-6 weeks. The patient should be referred to orthopedic surgeons within 3-5 days due to the high rate of late complications.

More severe injuries require operative treatment with internal fixation, which your physician will discuss with you.

Regardless of how severe your injury is, these tips will help you alleviate swelling, bruising, and pain: 

● Rest your foot for extended periods as much as possible

● Apply cold compresses several times a day for 15-20 minutes, for several days after the injury

● Elevate your foot when sitting or lying down

● Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to relieve discomfort

● Ensure you wear shoes with a rigid sole and or stiff padding in front of the affected toe to protect it better.

Related X-rays: Foot 2V, Ankle 2 Views X ray, Calcaneus 2 Views X ray