At Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists, every new patient or returning patient with a new injury is required to get X-rays in the office. This can be confusing for some patients as they may feel they do not need X-rays since they know they did not break a bone. But x-rays can tell us so much more than if you have a fracture!
X-rays can truly tell us a lot about your body. In younger patients, X-rays can show us the growth plates in the bones as well as any developmental abnormalities such as hip dysplasia where the bone has not grown properly. You can also see areas of bone that may not be getting a proper blood supply and the bone could be dying off. X-rays can show us any masses developing in bones. We can see many chronic conditions as well. Something called periosteal elevation can show us overgrowth in bone that could indicate a stress fracture. Cycstic changes in bone can indicate arthritis or chronic tendon changes. We can see calcium buildup in areas of tendon insertion. Changes in the surrounding soft tissue that may look like shadows or swelling can be a sign of an occult fracture, which is a fracture that cannot be seen by the X-ray due to positioning.
Orthopedists need X-rays to jumpstart the diagnostic process. They are a crucial tool in the evaluation of your orthopedic injury. They can give us so much information! X-rays have been found to be safe and effective and give off little radiation exposure. X-rays are an Orthopedists best friend!