Two Common Diagnostic Tools for Diagnosis of Orthopedic Problems

When you have any type of injury to a joint or bone, you will need to have imaging done to determine the root cause of the problem so that appropriate diagnosis and treatment can be made. Whether you have a shoulder injury, a potential sprain, a broken bone, or joint pain, imaging can help the doctor get an accurate diagnosis. There are two main diagnostic tools that doctors use to determine orthopedic health.


Most often, your doctor will begin the diagnosis with an x-ray. An x-ray is the oldest form of imaging, and it is done by sending an electromagnetic beam through your body and into a piece of film behind it. The resulting image allows the doctor to see the bones, ligaments, and tendons in your body. X-rays are usually the first images that doctors will take, but advanced ligament and tendon issues may not be visible on an x-ray, requiring additional imaging methods.


Another common diagnostic tool for orthopedic problems is an MRI, which stands for magnetic resource imaging. An MRI can give a much more detailed and clear view of a joint system. The MRI is usually used to diagnose joint issues such as in knees and shoulders. These joints are a complex network of bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscle. The MRI allows doctors to see the entire joint structure. An MRI can be uncomfortable depending on the type of machine your doctor uses. Some MRI machines are open, but others are closed and could pose a problem for people with claustrophobia.

While there are a few other diagnostic tools that your doctor might use, these are the two most common types of imaging used to diagnose orthopedic problems. If you have undiagnosed bone or joint pain, you should not wait to be seen. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.