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It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

That’s certainly true when it comes to medical care! When you’re in pain or don’t feel right but have no obvious injuries, X-rays allow your doctor to see what’s happening inside so they can diagnose and treat you accordingly.

Traditional X-rays have been around for decades but digital X-rays take this critical technology a step further, providing immediate and highly detailed results that can easily be shared with other providers. (Bonus: they use less radiation, too.)

FastMed urgent care clinics offer digital X-rays at all locations, so we can quickly identify things like sprains, strains and broken bones. Keep reading to learn what happens during an X-ray, common injuries that might require an X-ray and why visiting FastMed is your best choice.


What Are X-Rays?

An X-ray is a fast, painless test that uses a safe amount of radiation to capture images of the structures inside your body, particularly bones and soft tissues. People of all ages, including infants, can get an X-ray.

Traditional X-rays, which are created on photographic film, must be chemically processed and developed. With digital X-rays, FastMed can immediately view and enhance the images, providing an accurate, more detailed view in less time.


What Happens During an X-Ray?

An X-ray sends invisible beams of radiation through your body. The beams are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they pass through. For instance, bone shows up as white on an X-ray, while fat and muscle appear as shades of gray.

You won’t feel anything during the X-ray, although you will be asked to remain still and hold your breath as the images are taken. The X-ray machine will also make clicking and buzzing sounds. The entire process usually takes just a few minutes.

FastMed uses expert radiologists who are trained to take and evaluate X-ray images. The results are then shared with your FastMed provider to determine the best course of treatment.


Common Injuries That Might Require an X-Ray

Even if you aren’t visibly injured, you should consider getting an X-ray if you experience:

  • Trouble walking or moving a limb
  • Persistent swelling
  • Joint pain or stiffness

Some common injuries that might require an X-ray include:

Sprains and strains

A severe sprain or strain can impact your ability to walk or move. Your FastMed provider might order an X-ray to rule out any broken bones (see below). For instance, a fractured foot or ankle bone can cause symptoms similar to an ankle sprain.

An X-ray lets us know for sure, so we can treat your injury properly.


Broken bones

Open fractures (when part of the bone breaks through your skin) are easy to see. However, many other types of fractures are not. With stable fractures, the bone breaks but barely moves. Transverse fractures (a horizontal break across the bone) are also hard to spot visually.

An X-ray will clearly show the fracture as a black line or lines across the bone. Your FastMed provider can also use the image(s) to determine how to set the bone for healing.



A joint can become dislocated when something forces it out of position, such as a hard fall. Shoulders, elbows, fingers and hips are examples of joints that are more likely to become dislocated.

An X-ray can show the severity of your dislocation and confirm if there is any other damage in or around the joint area.

How Do I Prepare for an X-Ray?

Most X-rays don’t require any special preparation, although you may be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses or clothing with metal objects (such as buttons or zippers) that could interfere with the images.


At FastMed, X Marks the Spot

Waiting for hours at the ER for an X-ray? Bracing yourself for a huge bill? Not anymore.

Thanks to FastMed, you can get digital X-rays any day of the week with no ER visit required. FastMed clinics are open extended hours on weekdays, weekends and holidays for your convenience – and our X-ray machines are ready to go. Just walk in or check in online, and we’ll take care of the rest! Get care at a FastMed clinic near you.


About FastMed

FastMed is a leading provider of high-quality, convenient, affordable, and compassionate healthcare in 34 counties across North Carolina. FastMed serves both urban and rural communities across the state with a wide range of care options, including preventive, telemedicine, occupational health, and primary and urgent care. FastMed is one of the few urgent care providers in the nation that has earned The Joint Commission’s coveted Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety, and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information, visit

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