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X-ray and MR Imaging of Knee and Shoulder Athletic Injuries

Mandy Armitage, MD

*Founder/Medical Writer, Armitage Medical, LLC, McCordsville, Indiana.
Address correspondence to: Mandy Armitage, MD, Founder/Medical Writer, Armitage Medical, LLC, 13880 Rue Royale Lane, McCordsville, IN 46055. E-mail: mandyharmitage@gmail.com.

Disclosure Statement: Dr Armitage reports having no financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.


Sports injuries are common in active individuals, regardless of professional level. The goal of both the clinician and the patient after the injury is to return to activity as quickly as possible. In order to achieve this goal, a correct diagnosis must be made. Imaging not only confirms or refutes a clinical diagnosis, it plays a critical role in guiding the treatment plan. Knowledge of the relevant anatomy is essential for optimization and interpretation of imaging. Additionally, it is helpful to know which imaging modalities are best for each specific injury. To obtain optimal images, sufficient knowledge of the pertinent anatomy and familiarity with injury patterns is necessary. This activity discusses the role of imaging modalities for common acute injury pathology of the shoulder and knee joints. Conventional radiography can be useful in injuries such as clavicle fractures, acromioclavicular joint injuries, Little League shoulder, and shoulder dislocations. Because magnetic resonance imaging is more sensitive for soft tissue injuries, it should be utilized for rotator cuff tears, meniscal tears, osteochondral fractures, and anterior and posterior cruciate ligament injuries. Magnetic resonance arthrogram provides sensitivity for intraarticular pathology, such as glenohumeral labral tears and meniscus tears in postoperative knees. Imaging of patellar dislocations and knee osteoarthritis are also discussed.

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