Discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Röentgen, X-rays are electromagnetic radiation, just like light except with a shorter wavelength. This short wavelength gives them high energy, and the ability to penetrate certain materials, such as soft tissue (not bone) non-destructively.

One of the most common and beneficial uses of X-rays is for medical imaging, though they’re also used in applications ranging from treating cancer to exploring the cosmos.

In feet, X-rays can help determine whether a bone has been fractured, or damaged by conditions such as an infection, arthritis, or other disease.

Other reasons for using X-rays on your feet are to:

  • Evaluate changes in the bones.
  • Assess whether a child's bones are growing normally.
  • Locate foreign objects (such as pieces of glass or metal) in a wound.
  • Determine whether bones are properly set after treating a fracture.

Pregnant women, especially those in their first trimester, are advised against having X-rays.