Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

X-Ray Exam: Foot

What's an X-Ray?

An X-ray is a safe and painless test that uses a small amount of radiation to make an image of bones, organs, and other parts of the body.

The X-ray image is black and white. Dense body parts, such as bones, block the passage of the X-ray beam through the body. These look white on the X-ray image. Softer body tissues, such as the skin and muscles, allow the X-ray beams to pass through them. They look darker on the image.

X-rays are commonly done in doctors’ offices, radiology departments, imaging centers, and dentists’ offices.

What's a Foot X-Ray?

In a foot X-ray, an X-ray machine sends a beam of radiation through the foot, and an image is recorded on special X-ray film or a computer. This image shows the soft tissues and bones of the foot, which include the tarsal bones (back end of the foot), metatarsal bones (front end of foot), and phalanges (toes).

An X-ray technician will take pictures of the foot: 

  • from the front (anteroposterior view or AP)
  • from the side (lateral view)
  • at an angle (oblique view)

Occasionally doctors request X-rays of the opposite (uninjured) foot for comparison.

Foot X-rays are done while a child sits on the table. They should stay still for 2–3 seconds while each X-ray is taken so the images are clear. If an image is blurred, the X-ray technician might take another one.

Why Are Foot X-Rays Done?

The foot X-ray can help doctors find the cause of pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformities. It can show broken bones or dislocated joints. After a broken bone has been set, an X-ray can show if the bones are aligned and if they have healed properly.

An X-ray can help doctors plan surgery, when needed, and check the results after it. It also can help to detect cysts, tumors, and later-stage infections of the bones.

What if I Have Questions?

If you have questions about the foot X-ray or what the results mean, talk to your doctor.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date Reviewed: 20-03-2022

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.