This may seem like an April Fool’s Day prank but believe it or not shoe stores used to offer x-ray machines for just this purpose. Many adults may remember stepping onto these machines as a child while trying on Buster Brown shoes. Moms, dads, kids and sales people could look into the machine to see the x-ray image of the feet in the shoe. According to Wikipedia, these shoe fitting fluoroscope machines were used by millions of shoe shoppers across the world, reaching its peak of popularity in the early 1950s, with 10,000 machines in shoe stores across the United States. Then, as concerns about the potentially damaging effects of radiation increased, the machines began to disappear. It turns out that these machines were mostly a gimmick and but more importantly posed serious safety concerns.
At Cincinnati Children’s we still use fluoroscopic x-ray machines for very important medical procedures like UGI’s, VCUG’s, GJ tube placements and cardiac procedures. We of course still take images of feet, but only for legitimate medical reasons…never for fashion purposes. We put your child’s safety as our highest priority and do everything we can to limit radiation exposure. We use new imaging equipment designed specifically for pediatric patients, individualized techniques that reduce x-ray does and expert training for all our technologists and Radiologists. You can be confident that your child is receiving the highest quality and safest imaging experience. We’d bet our next pair of shoes on it.
Contributed by Coreen Bell and edited by Catherine Leopard (CLS).