Have you or your child gotten injured lately? When dealing with things like ankle or other joint pain, it can definitely be on your mind to get an X-ray to know the severity of your injury. So, when do you need to get one, and is it safe to get one these days?

Our AFC Urgent Care Chapman Highway team has some answers below, so read on!

How Do I Know If I Need an X-ray?

Obviously, pain is a sign that you may need an X-ray, but there are other things you should take into account. When you’re dealing with something like an ankle sprain or muscle strain, they affect the muscles and ligaments. So, although they’re painful, sprains and strains commonly heal with rest, ice and elevation.

Bone breaks, fractures and dislocations all usually require X-rays for effective diagnosis. We’ve listed some common signs and symptoms of those types of injuries below.

Signs of Broken Bones

  • Bruising and discoloration. Though it can occur with any type of injury, bruising as a result of fracture may be particularly extensive and dark in color.
  • Swelling. Swelling often occurs due to blunt trauma, when fluid leakage causes soft tissue such as muscles and skin to swell. Swelling may be a sign that a bone has broken.
  • Crepitus. Crepitus is a condition in which bits of a broken bone can be felt underneath the skin after an injury has been sustained. This sensation is not normally felt in the body and may indicate a breakage.

Is It Risky to Get an X-ray?

Not really. Because X-rays involve radiation, they are linked to a slightly increased risk of cancer, but there is an extremely low risk of short-term health complications.

Exposure to high radiation levels, such as chemotherapy, can have a range of effects, such as vomiting, bleeding, fainting, hair loss and the loss of skin and hair. However, X-rays provide such a low dose of radiation that they are not believed to cause any immediate health problems.

Very Rare X-ray Side Effects

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • A metallic taste in your mouth

Whether it’s at Camp Webb or a UT sports camp, kids can get injured, too! Remember to visit our AFC Urgent Care Chapman Highway center if you or your child needs an X-ray.