How Do I Determine If I Need an MRI for My Knee?

Article by Zoe Russell

How Do I Determine If I Need an MRI for My Knee?

After sustaining a knee injury, you might ponder the necessity of scans. Many individuals inquire about the need for an MRI in such situations.

Your physiotherapist engages in a comprehensive discussion about your knee, coupled with objective testing, to usually arrive at a clinical diagnosis and treatment plan. This assessment conducted by your physiotherapist also encompasses a dialogue regarding the potential requirement for imaging. Although various imaging tests can be pivotal in managing your knee injury, they should be prioritised based on the condition. Your skilled healthcare provider evaluates the clinical assessment to determine the most appropriate imaging method (such as X-Ray, CT, MRI, or Ultrasound) tailored to your issue.

Is a Knee MRI Warranted?

A straightforward guideline for deciding whether to undergo a knee MRI is as follows:

“Imaging should exclude or rule out an injury that would alter your treatment plan or necessitate medical intervention.”

Another reason to consider knee imaging is if your well-considered treatment plan isn’t yielding the anticipated results based on the diagnosis.

In case of trauma, along with knee deformity or the inability to bear weight, obtaining plain radiographs, also known as X-Rays, can be beneficial. Your physiotherapist employs a set of rules, namely the Ottawa Knee Rules, to aid in determining the need for Radiographs.

If your knee is unstable, giving way, locking, or immobilized, your Physiotherapist or Doctor might recommend an MRI to ascertain if your injury calls for specialized intervention to aid your recovery. A prime example is a locked knee resulting from a meniscus injury; an urgent MRI can quickly determine if an earlier specialist consultation is necessary, given that this type of injury responds less effectively to non-surgical care.

Certain rare conditions can manifest, and the knee is susceptible to ailments like infections and gout! In such instances, MRI fails to differentiate between conditions, making it more suitable to undergo blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and guide appropriate management.

While investigating knee pain might be warranted for injuries, it’s usually best to confer with your physiotherapist. They can assess your knee and recommend the most suitable imaging method for your issue, expediting your recovery.

So, don’t hesitate to seek your doctor or knee physiotherapist’s opinion on your knee pain without delay.

More information