Ankle and knee imaging resources for consumers

Ankle and knee imaging resources

About medical imaging

The ankle and knee are joints located in the lower leg. Injuries to these joints are very common reasons why people visit their GP or physiotherapist. Injuries that frequently affect these joints include ligament sprains, muscle and tendon strains, and damage to the meniscus (cartilage) in the knee. 

Although these injuries are often painful and uncomfortable, they can usually be managed with rest, ice, support and a gradual return to physical activity.

In some cases, such as when the cause of the injury is unclear or the damage to the joint is complex, an imaging test, such as an X-ray, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be recommended. However, research shows that in most cases of acute ankle and knee sprain/strain, having an X-ray or MRI does not change the treatment you receive or how fast you recover. In addition, having an X-ray you don’t need may expose you to unnecessary radiation.

In fact, for many sprains affecting the ankles and knees, taking a history and examining the joint is all that your health professional will need to do to determine the diagnosis and guide management.

Ankle sprains: 10 things to know

Read 10 things you should know about ankle sprains on the NPS MedicneWise website to help you get back moving as usual.

Your knee joint injury, explained

The knee is a commonly injured part of the body. In fact, in sport it’s the most commonly injured part, with research finding that up to one in four of all sport injuries affect the knee. Read about Acute knee injuries on the NPS MedicineWise site to learn more.

Different types of medical imaging

There are several types of medical imnaging tests, each with its own advantages and disdadvantages. Read Imaging Explained on the NPS MedicineWise website to be informed about your medical imaging test and talk to your health professional about any questions or concerns you may have.

Questions you can ask about medical imaging

Imaging can be very useful in helping to diagnose the cause of your symptoms, but is not always necessary. Read How should I talk to a health professional about imaging on the NPS MedicineWise website to be well informed about your imaging and ask your doctor any questions you may have.

 

Last reviewed 19 October 2016