This past weekend was a bad weekend for the Buccaneers, not only were they handed there first defeat of the season, but Levonte David also went down with an ankle injury. The team and NFL have reported that he will undergo an MRI on his ankle after initial radiographs were negative. So the question is, what does this mean?
A common question our patients ask us is why we are obtaining a certain type of imaging. The answer is often not as straight forward as one may think. Taking Levonte’s case as an example, radiographs are a first line exam for diagnosing injuries in the foot and ankle. They provide an excellent view of the bones, and in his case rule out a fracture to his ankle bones. However, they are not good for diagnosing stress type injuries in the bone, and are especially poor at visualizing soft tissue injuries. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the imaging exam of choice used to help diagnose soft tissue injuries such as damage to Levonte’s ligaments and tendons. They are also helpful in showing the extent of an injury beyond the capabilities of a radiograph. However, because MRI machines are made up of a large magnet, some patients are unable to get an MRI. For these patients, a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan may be warranted. A CT scan, like an MRI takes a bunch of digital “slices” of the foot/ankle to allow us to see and diagnose conditions more accurately. Finally, ultrasound is a powerful diagnostic tool that allows us to evaluate each patient “in real time”. This means a doctor can move an affected foot or ankle while viewing the soft tissue on a chair side screen to come to a diagnosis. Depending on the complexity of the injury, and similar to Levonte’s case, multiple imaging modalities are used to arrive at a diagnosis.
At Healthy Feet Podiatry we have in office Xray/Ultrasound machines, and offer same day appointments, which allows us to obtain radiographs/ultrasounds on your initial visit and start the process of obtaining an accurate diagnosis immediately. This in office ability to perform the first line exam allows us to waste no time in diagnosing and therefore treating our patients. If you find yourself to be unlucky like Levonte David, call your friendly knowledgable staff at Healthy Feet Podiatry for your same day appointment.