When Should you get an X-ray of your foot?

It’s happened to almost everyone. Stumping a toe against a piece of furniture. Kicking a step when walking up the stairs. Dropping something heavy on the foot. Twisting an ankle while engaging in sport activities or exercise. Most people experience a brief and painful “out of body experience” and then walk away from the pain.

Unfortunately, there are many who never realize the damage they’ve caused to their feet or ankles until chronic pain occurs later on. The best way to determine if a foot or ankle injury is serious is to see an emergency foot doctor, a qualified healthcare professional who knows what to look for, for an x-ray and evaluation.

Tenderness, swelling, and bruising are common after a foot or ankle injury, but this does not always warrant a trip to urgent care for foot pain. Severe pain, numbness, tingling, or other serious complaints do, however, require immediate attention.

Signs that you need an x-ray after a foot or ankle injury include:

  • If you are unable to bear weight for four steps ( limping counts as weight bearing) after a foot or ankle injury occurs is cause for an x-ray. If the injury does not result in a fracture you should be able to bear weight for at least a short distance. The inability to do this is a pretty definite sign that there is a more serious injury.


  • If you are unable to bear weight for four steps and are experiencing bone tenderness at the base of the 5th metatarsal (the bone on the outside part of your foot), then you definitely need to have an x-ray done by an emergency foot doctor. Even if you are able to bear some weight, but are experiencing pretty intense pain in the 5th metatarsal, it’s still a good idea to have it x-rayed to rule anything out.


  • You also need to pay close attention to pain and tenderness of the navicular bone (the bone on the inside part of your foot). If you are experiencing pain in this area of the foot, either on its own or with the first two signs, you definitely need to have your foot x-rayed.


  • Even if you aren’t experiencing the symptoms above, or aren’t quite sure if your pain is “serious” enough, it’s always best to trust your gut. If something feels off or abnormal to you, it’s well worth the peace of mind to visit urgent care for a foot injury or ankle injury. A clean bill of health is worth its weight in gold when it comes to peace of mind.


You know your body better than anyone, and know when pain is abnormal. You can determine if you have any of the symptoms above from the comfort of your home, but you should always have an injury checked out by an emergency foot doctor to not only ensure there is no serious damage to your foot or ankle, but also to prevent further, long term damage down the road.

Urgent Care for Feet clinics are staffed by board certified podiatrists. We can treat 90% of the foot and ankle cases seen in an emergency room for a fraction of the cost. We provide an on site x-ray that is designed specifically for the foot and ankle. This will avoid re-taking an x-ray done improperly at an ER or standard Urgent Care. Our clinics will be able to provide you with the correct casting or bracing needed for your foot or ankle injury. We can provide immediate treatment for all infections including any needed procedure and/or antibiotic. We can repair or correct all lacerations, wounds or cuts of the foot and ankle. Your follow up will be with the same foot and ankle specialist.

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