MRI of the Foot: Know details about the process

MRI of the Foot: Know details about the process

An MRI foot scan is a powerful diagnostic technique that helps to capture detailed images of the foot and ankle structures. Doctors advise an MRI of the foot when a person faces a wide range of symptoms like foot pain,...


An MRI foot scan is a powerful diagnostic technique that helps to capture detailed images of the foot and ankle structures. Doctors advise an MRI of the foot when a person faces a wide range of symptoms like foot pain, swelling, warmth, redness, numbness, tingling, stiffness, or decreased sensation. 

It can help healthcare providers in treating numerous conditions like plantar fasciitis, Morton's neuroma, fractures, arthritis, and ligament tears. All these conditions may trigger foot pain in an individual. 

Your doctor, with all the knowledge of a physical examination and an assessment of the medical history, will consider whether an MRI scan of the foot is necessary. 

So, a person experiencing these manifestations of conditions should seek immediate medical help to get rid of foot or ankle discomfort. One should talk with a healthcare professional to unearth the underlying cause of the pain and ascertain whether an MRI foot scan is needed or not.

So, what does an MRI Foot Scan appear like?

Getting a foot MRI scan is a painless process based on the power of magnetic fields and radio waves to generate intricate pictures of the bones, muscles, and ligaments. This is an invaluable imaging technique helping doctors to detect a wide range of conditions plaguing the foot including fractures and muscle tears to infections and tumors.

The MRI machine is a large hollow tube-like structure that captures the images of the foot the doctor wants to investigate. The patient will then get into a hospital gown, which is loose and comfortable. The patient will be asked to lie down on the MRI examination table, which will slide down to the MRI machine. 

The MRI foot scan is identical to that of any other body part scan. The technician present for the examination takes great care to help the patient get into the most optimal position on the table. There will be sounds and noises from the machine during the entire stretch of the scan. 

However, there will be regular communication between the patient and the technician monitoring from an adjacent room. There is a speaker within the machine which facilitates the patient to hear the technician's reassuring communication. There is two-way communication between the patient and the technician. To cut the noise and high sounds from the machine, the patient is provided with ear plugs before the examination starts. 

The patient is advised to remain still throughout the process, which lasts from 30 minutes to an hour. It is important to remain immovable so that the images clicked do not get distorted. During the scan, the tube-like machine intelligently captures a range of foot and ankle images, while maintaining the essence of the unique anatomical marvel. 

Can somebody book his or her own MRI Foot Scan?

It depends on the situation under which is it booked. There may be some healthcare facilities that allow people to book their MRIs, but other centers may ask them to get a referral from their doctor. But, the key point is to get an accurate diagnosis and receive the best treatment intervention available.

So, one should always consult a physician beforehand if there is any foot pain. This will ensure a proper diagnosis and the patient will be able to receive the best treatment plan within that area.

It is also advisable to discuss with the insurance provider to get a clear picture of the MRI foot price. One can have an idea beforehand if they cover the cost. Some insurance companies may ask for a referral from the respective doctor to have an MRI scan

On the other hand, a doctor is the best judge to decide and determine whether you need an MRI for diagnosing your pain in the foot. So if you're contemplating having an MRI scan, you must consult with your physician whether it is necessary or the right option under the circumstances. 

MRI foot scan vs X-ray of the foot

At times many people wonder which is better an MRI Foot Scan or an X-ray of the Foot. It is worthwhile to mention that an MRI foot scan is far superior in terms of accuracy helping doctors to detect any damage or problems in the foot, compared to an X-ray. 

MRI of the foot is powered by the use of a strong magnetic field and radio waves that generate clear and detailed images taken from multiple angles of the inside of the foot. On the other hand, an X-ray utilizes radiation to procure a single, flat image. 

Although an X-ray is capable of detecting any damage to the foot bones and the joints, it is not able to generate much detail of soft tissues like an MRI. But, an MRI can pinpoint issues like stress fractures, ligament and tendon damage, and even tumors of the soft tissue.

So, for someone grappling with any pain or discomfort in the foot or ankle, going for an MRI of the foot is the best option to know the underlying cause. 

Issues one may face during an MRI foot

There may be a few hurdles for a patient about to undergo a foot MRI. It is not going to be easy to get an MRI done for people who suffer from claustrophobia. The patient has to lie on the examination table that slides into the cylindrical MRI machine. It can be stressful for such people. They may feel suffocating while going inside the tube.

In such a scenario, the doctor offers some medication like a relaxant to ease the stress and anxiety. It does help and a person can easily get the MRI done under the influence of the medicine. However, one should be cautious not to take any medicine suggested by the technician present in the room. Only your doctor can prescribe medicine. In certain facilities, they have an open MRI machine also, which is less enclosing and the patient may feel less confined in it. These are called Open upright MRI machines. They can take similar pictures of the patients in any position. 

Another problem is the metal implants in the body of the patient. So, the patient should discuss with the doctor any such objects in the body before the scan. These metal objects may jeopardize the scan by interfering with the magnetic fields inside the machine. It may also compromise the safety of the patient. 

MRI Foot Price

Since MRI is an advanced diagnostic modality needing sophisticated equipment, it is also very costly. Many people have reservations about the MRI foot price.

However, one should remember that it is not uniform and may vary depending on many factors, including the location, the particular examination the doctor is looking for, the use of a contrast agent, etc. So, the best solution is to talk to the facility and the insurance company for any coverage. It is not going to serve any purpose to worry about the MRI foot price before taking these necessary steps.


We have seen that the MRI of the foot is a very important diagnostic tool to treat conditions of the foot that include foot pain, swelling, ligament tear, issues of the soft tissue, etc. The high-resolution images dispensed by an MRI scan can help doctors in providing proper treatment to patients grappling with problems in their feet.