5 Signs Your Injury Requires an X-Ray

5 Signs Your Injury Requires an X-Ray

Injuries are an inevitable part of life, whether from sports, accidents, or everyday mishaps. Though some injuries can be treated at home with over-the-counter pain relievers, cold compresses, and rest, other injuries — including lacerations, sprains, and fractures —  require more specialized medical attention.

That’s where X-rays come into the picture. X-rays are a type of diagnostic imaging that uses radiation to reveal images of the internal structures of your body. They are particularly effective for visualizing bones and joints and are used to diagnose fractures, dislocations, and other abnormalities that may not be evident through a physical examination alone.

Dr. Rogers Walker and the Walker Family Care offer on-site X-rays here in our Little River, South Carolina, office.

But how do you know that your injury requires an X-ray? Review these five signs that you may need one.

1. You have severe pain and swelling 

If you experience intense pain and significant swelling immediately after an injury, it could be a sign of a fracture or a severe sprain. Although swelling is a natural response to injury, excessive swelling that comes on after an acute injury can indicate internal damage.

2. You can’t put weight on your affected body part

Assess your ability to use your injured body part. Can you bear weight on your affected lower limb? Can you pick up or lift items with your arms or hands? Can you move the injured area?

For example, if you can’t put any weight on your leg after a fall or if your wrist is too painful to move after a direct impact, these could be signs of a fracture or dislocation. X-rays can confirm fractures and dislocations. 

In some cases, it’s possible to have both a dislocation and a fracture at the same time, and your X-ray images help our team navigate your treatment. 

3. There’s a visible deformity 

A visible deformity, such as an abnormal bend or twist in a limb or joint, is a clear sign that you need an X-ray. This could indicate a bone fracture or joint dislocation that needs prompt medical attention. 

Even if the deformity isn’t accompanied by severe pain, don’t postpone care. Prompt care can lead to an accurate diagnosis and the right treatment. Delaying treatment can increase your risk of improper healing.

4. Your injured body part tingles

Nerve damage or compromised blood flow, which can occur alongside fractures or severe sprains, can cause tingly sensations. Don’t brush it off; untreated nerve or vascular damage can lead to long-term complications. 

5. Your pain gets worse over time

Though some injuries may seem minor at first, persistent or worsening pain over time can indicate a more serious issue. If your pain does not improve after a few days of rest, ice, compression, and elevation — also known as the RICE method — don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

Dr. Walker can use your X-ray images to confirm or rule out injuries such as a small fracture, a stress fracture, or another type of injury. Stress fractures, in particular, are notorious for getting worse over time.

When in doubt, seek medical care

These signs can help guide you in deciding whether to seek an X-ray, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution. If you’re concerned about your injury, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Walker and our team. 

When you arrive, be prepared to share details about your injury, your symptoms, and how long you’ve had your symptoms. Getting a bone X-ray doesn’t hurt and you don’t need to do any special steps to prepare for it, but you’ll have to wear a protective lead shield. 

There are other types of X-rays, including fluoroscopy, that do require more prep, but these types of X-rays aren’t used to assess acute injuries. 

A note on the emergency room: In some cases, you may require emergency medical care. If your injury is accompanied by severe head trauma, profusely bleeding wounds, or an open fracture, call 9-1-1 or head straight to the nearest emergency room.

Questions about your injury? Give us a call at 843-280-8333, or click here to schedule an appointment in our Little River, South Carolina, office.

You Might Also Enjoy...

 6 Healthy Habits to Lower Your Blood Pressure

6 Healthy Habits to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Wondering how to lower high blood pressure? It can be lowered through many easy-to-implement lifestyle modifications. Read on to learn six healthy habits that you can start today to help lower your blood pressure.