Podiatrists will often refer patients to have an x-ray, ultrasound and/or MRI of the foot and ankle to assist in the diagnosis and management of certain pathologies.
Podiatrists are skilled at reading and interpreting foot and ankle medical imaging and this can be of help in the confirmation of pathology, assessing structural alignment, assessment of inflammation and treatment planning for patients.
Medical imaging is something podiatrists can refer for to assist in understanding baselining pathology.
X-rays of the foot and ankle is a two-dimensional image of the body's bones to help diagnose conditions or disease, similar to a photograph of your bones. An x-ray can be used to assess alignment of the foot and ankle whilst sitting or standing. Diagnosis of certain bony pathology include stress fractures, bony infection and bunions to name a few. This can be covered by Medicare and occasionally may have a gap fee associated with it.
Ultrasound of the foot and ankle can be ordered to allow the podiatrist to assess tendon pathology including tears, ligament issues, muscle patholody, nerve problems and inflammation of certain areas of the foot and ankle. An ultrasound is a non invasive technique that uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of the foot and ankle.
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a noninvasive nuclear procedure for imaging tissues of high fat and water content that cannot be seen with other radiologic techniques. The MRI image gives information about the chemical makeup of tissues, thus making it possible to distinguish normal, atherosclerotic, and traumatised tissue masses in the image. An MRI can be ordered by podiatrists, however they do attract a fee the same as if your GP ordered one for you - MRIs are only subsided by specialist doctors. MRIs are beneficial to determine soft tissue and bony pathology that aren't clearly identified on ultrasound or x-ray.