Comparing Nail Biopsy vs. Other Diagnostic Tools in Podiatry

Are you wondering how nail biopsy is different from other diagnostic tools of podiatry? Learn about the major diagnostic tools of podiatry in this article.


The different diagnostic tools in podiatry

Here’s a list of different diagnostic tools used to diagnose and treat foot and ankle problems. It includes:

  1. X-rays:

An X-ray test is used to investigate whether bone and soft tissue have been fractured or injured by conditions such as arthritis, infection, or other diseases. It’s recommended for hand, arm, wrist, foot, ankle, knee, or leg bones and tissues.

The doctor uses X-rays to rule out bone changes caused by conditions such as:

  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Ankle fracture
  • Lisfranc fracture-dislocations
  • Hindfoot malalignment
  • Sesamoid bone fracture
  • Ligament injuries

It is also useful for locating foreign objects in a wound, and if bone gets properly treated for a fracture. Doctors also use X-rays to examine a child’s bone growth.


X-ray is a reliable diagnostic tool in case of diagnosis of fractures or injuries in the bone and soft tissues. It even shows a hairline strain-type fracture of the bone. It is helpful to rule out conditions that cause fractures and injuries.


X-ray is not always a reliable diagnostic tool to find fractures and injuries caused by several conditions such as malleolar fractures and syndesmosis injury. And sometimes, X-rays miss some injuries and fractures in the first diagnostic test. That’s why sometimes, a second X-ray test is recommended to rule out the cause.


  1. Ultrasound:

An ultrasound is a diagnostic tool used to diagnose many foot and ankle problems such as bursitis or capsulitis of the joints, ligament injuries, tendinitis or tendon tears, Morton’s neuroma, heel spurs, and plantar fasciitis.


It is recommended as a first-line diagnostic test for foot and ankle problems because it is non-invasive, economical, and gives instant results after completing the scan. It is recommended more commonly to diagnose soft tissue problems compared to bone conditions.


It is a noninvasive test that produces sound waves through a transducer that passes into your body reflected to the probe to be recorded and produces an image on the computer checked by the doctor. The patient doesn’t need to prepare anything for this test and can get instant results after the scan. That’s why it is the first recommendation for doctors to diagnose foot and ankle problems.


It is a great tool for the diagnosis of soft tissue problems but is recommended for bone conditions because low-frequency sound waves can pass through bones and produce detailed images.


  1. MRI:

An MRI tool is used to investigate chronic foot pain and various other foot and ankle soft tissue disorders because it produces high-resolution and contrast images which is very helpful for proper diagnosis.

However, MRI equipment is expensive and not easily accessible in many county hospitals, and you need validation from an orthopedic surgeon for diagnosis.


Best diagnostic tool for Achilles tendon rupture, ankle sprains, syndesmotic injury, chronic lateral ankle instability, ankle ligament injury, post-traumatic ankle pain, etc. It’s a fantastic tool for looking through soft tissue, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and fascia. It produces high-resolution and contrast images that are very helpful for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Its assembly and equipment are expensive and need an orthopedic surgeon’s validation to use. Sometimes, it may not be able to produce an estimated extent of the injury.


  1. CT scan:

CT scan is used to diagnose foot and ankle injuries and is also used during surgery. It has a weight-bearing computed tomography (WBCT) machine which allows for measurement and analysis of the foot for ankle bone position and its deformities.

It is recommended for fractures in the ankle joint area, syndesmotic reduction, syndesmotic injuries, hindfoot alignment, and Lisfranc instability.


CT scans provide overlapping free internal anatomy images on multiple angles, allowing doctors to identify internal structures and see their shape, size, density, and texture. It also detects abnormality and the exact location of the problem to help the physician create the best treatment plan. It also works as a guide during surgery to find the exact location to operate.



CT scans use X-rays, which produce ionizing radiation which may damage your DNA or lead to cancer. However, the risk is minimal.


  1. Nail Biopsy:

A common procedure in podiatry, a biopsy allows the podiatrist to extensively examine lesions on the foot. The podiatrist can accurately determine the type of dermatological pathology affecting their patients in this way. Based on the findings of the analysis, the podiatrist can then recommend a course of care.

During a foot biopsy, local anesthetic is applied, and a tiny sample of the soft tissue affected by a suspected lesion is taken in order to assess the entire foot. After that, it is delivered to a lab for examination.

Depending on the circumstances, the podiatrist may take your foot lesion in three distinct methods.

  • Punch biopsy: A punch-sized slice of skin must be obtained for this operation. Stitches might be needed.
  • Shave biopsy: While under local anesthetic, the podiatrist uses a tiny blade to remove a thin layer of skin. Usually, stitches are not needed.
  • Elliptical excision: This kind of biopsy removes the entire lesion and is the most invasive of the three. It is necessary to suture after this surgery.


Specifically, the podiatrist can evaluate the following using a biopsy from a foot lesion:

  • the lesion’s extent;
  • alterations in color, size, and form;
  • the extent of the foot injury;
  • the precise pathophysiology of the foot diagnosis.

The purpose of the foot biopsy is to assess a lesion so that it can be treated more effectively. Following a biopsy, the podiatrist ought to possess all the required data to furnish their customer with a detailed account of the appearance and attributes of the foot lesion.


There are several advantages of having a foot lesion biopsy:

  • you will receive a clear diagnosis of your disease;
  • you will know the severity of your lesions;
  • you will receive an explanation for why you have lesions on your foot.


The duration of this process can range from two weeks to two months, depending upon its complexity. If the diagnosis turns out to be more complex than your podiatrist can handle, you might occasionally need to receive treatment from a specialist.



Nail biopsy and other diagnostic tools of podiatry are used for different purposes in podiatry. Nail biopsy focuses on the diagnosis of a variety of skin and nail pathologies. Whereas podiatry diagnostic tools are used to diagnose foot and ankle problems and conditions. So, diagnosis differences depend on your signs of foot whether they are on your calf, ankle, foot or nail, and other areas of skin.


If you need to know what diagnostic tool is required to examine your foot problem, call us to get a consultation. Doral Health & Wellness employs Podiatrists with extensive education and expertise. Trauma to the tendons, muscles, and bones of the foot is quite common. It’s not a good idea to put off seeing a Foot Doctor Brooklyn until you’re in a lot of pain. Our address is 1797 Pitkin Avenue, New York, NY 11212. To make an appointment, please call +1-347-384-5690 or send an email to