Foot and Ankle Diagnostics
The level of staff expertise and the volume of patients seen in the Foot and Ankle Program make it a leader in the diagnosis of complex foot and ankle disorders. The technology at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin is state-of-the-science, with virtually every radiological test at our disposal to aid in diagnosing and treating foot and ankle disorders. But beyond technology, our physicians and staff have the experience and expertise to ask the right questions, request the right scans and read and interpret the results to make a more precise diagnosis.
Just as our surgeons specialize in foot and ankle disorders, we have dedicated and highly trained radiologists who specialize in bone and joint diseases. As an academic medical center, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin see more complex cases, and our radiologists have a breadth of experience not found elsewhere.
Diagnostic tools utilized by our orthopaedic radiologists include:
- Traditional and weight-bearing X-rays
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Beyond diagnostics, radiology technologies like fluoroscopy can also play a role in treating foot and ankle problems. This imaging technology can be used to guide joint injections, minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures, pin and plate placement and more. The quality of images produced by these technologies improves continually, and we stay on the forefront as new technologies develop.
Foot EMG and Nerve Conduction Studies
Patients who experience pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the foot or ankle may require an electrodiagnostic study. Such studies can detect the presence, location and extent of diseases and in some cases can determine the actual site of nerve damage. An electrodiagnostic study has two parts — a nerve conduction study and an EMG (electromyogram). The two tests are almost always done together and both are necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
A nerve conduction study measures how quickly an electrical impulse travels through a nerve in order to determine nerve damage and destruction. An EMG measures the electrical activity of muscles.
Physicians experienced in electrodiagnostic studies use them to determine if there is a nerve or muscle problem or if something else is the cause. Because our physicians see a higher volume of patients and more complex cases, they have the expertise to identify problems more accurately. Nationally, our physicians are among the most highly trained in conducting foot EMGs and nerve conduction studies, and they teach other physicians across the country.
Gait and Motion Analysis
Physicians may request a gait and motion analysis to evaluate how a patient’s foot and ankle movements deviate from normal movement. Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin operates the Human Motion Analysis Laboratory (“Gait Lab”) in collaboration with Marquette University.
One of only a few like it in the state, the Gait Lab in an international research leader. Researchers here have pioneered the internationally recognized “Milwaukee Foot Model,” which allows clinicians to track the motion of bones in the foot. The Milwaukee Foot Model is used to assess patients before surgery and during post-operative care to track their results. The gait and motion analysis is highly accurate, detailed and unlike any other test in the area.