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Why did your doctor order an MRI of the knee when my x-rays were normal?

Posted by Guy DiMartino | Jun 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

A common question that I get from clients is “I had an x-ray of my knee after an accident and the doctor told me it's normal, why is my doctor now ordering an MRI?”

The answer is pretty straight forward. Plain film x-rays look at the structure of the bone and joint space. When the doctor took the x-ray she was looking for a fracture or dislocation of the bone, and the joint space to see if there is arthritis in the joint.

On the other hand, an MRI looks at different structures in the knee. The MRI is much more sensitive for soft tissue structures like ligaments (which help hold the bones together), tendons (which attach muscle to bone), and cartilage (which provides a smooth surface for bone articulation). As you can see from the picture below, an MRI looks different from the x-ray above.

You can still make out the knee cap, the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone), but you also see the different layers of muscle, tendon, ligament and cartilage.


Your x-rays were normal so that told your doctor that your bone structure was pretty good. Your doctor is checking to see if you have torn some the soft tissue structures in your knee, which could be causing your continued pain.

If you have any questions about a knee injury after an Indiana accident, Call Guy DiMartino Law at (219) 690.8997 

About the Author

Guy DiMartino

I have loved helping people in need for almost three decades.  It has been my privilege to serve people as their pastor, chiropractor, and lawyer.  The current focus of my legal practice and lifes passion is helping the seriously injured receive complete compensation for their injuries. I am a ...


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