Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we’re talking about fast and easy versus fast and cheap ways to tell if your foot is broken.
I was just having a discussion with a runner in a second opinion consultation and he asked me what’s the best way to tell if my foot is broken. And I said, Okay, well, there’s a couple of different options. There is basically the fast and easy way and then there’s the fast and cheap way and then there are complicated ways we’re not going to talk about.
For example, I saw an ultra-marathoner just a couple of days ago, she was actually running and she rolled her ankle and she felt okay so she kept running. What happened is very common and that she rolled it again a little bit further down the trail, but this time she felt some kind of crunch or something, and it really hurt. However, she wasn’t that far from the car so she did what most runners would do and she ran all the way to the car.
She called me because I’ve seen her before for other injuries. She asked me to come to her house and look at her. I took a look at her, I saw that it was swollen. I suspected maybe she had actually broken one of the bones in her foot and sure enough, she did. I decided that and I determined that right on the spot sitting right there. Well, that’s the fast way.
What is the fast way? The fast way is, well, I have got one right here. This is an ultrasound unit. So, an ultrasound unit, I actually can take this out, which I literally had in my pocket. I can put it on her foot and I can look for a fracture. And with this ultrasound unit, I actually was able to see a fracture in the base of her fifth metatarsal where the peroneal tendon had pulled so hard it cracked the bone. It was in the right position, which I can also tell by looking at it with an ultrasound unit.
If you’re in the doctor’s office, many times they can just literally reach in a drawer, pull out an ultrasound unit, look at it and if they’re adept at doing it, they can see whether or not the foot is broken. In her case, it was. You can also get X-rays. That’s the second way.
So, if you called me for a second opinion consultation, and I’m not sitting in your living room, like I was in that case, well, obviously I wouldn’t be doing an ultrasound on you over webcam. So, what can I do? Well, if you’re in California, you’re in Texas, you’re in Florida, you’re one of those states where I’m actually licensed, I could write in an order for an X-ray, send it to your neighborhood imaging center, you basically go over there for $50 or $60. They do X-rays, they get three views of your feet and then we look at them on Zoom cam and go through them together. So, that is also really inexpensive. It’s fast, but it’s not as fast as me just pulling a probe out of my pocket looking at it while I’m sitting there with you in your living room.
But that’s two different ways that you can do it. They are different. They have advantages and disadvantages. The X-ray actually give me more detail on the bone than an ultrasound does but ultrasound lets you look at the tendons and ligaments to see if you messed up anything else.
Different tests. Both of them of value. Both of them reasonably fast and reasonably inexpensive too. So hopefully this helps you understand a little bit more about fractures.
If you think you’ve got a metatarsal fracture you might want to check out the stress fracture masterclass which you can get for free docontherun.com/stressfracturemasterclass.
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