Ankle sprains are very common injuries. To evaluate the extent of your injury, your doctor may combine a physical examination and X-ray imaging in order to finalize a diagnosis and plan treatment. This is typically enough to diagnose a sprained ankle and most other issues.
However, if the ankle injury does not heal adequately or if the doctor needs more detailed information about the ankle, they may order an ankle MRI.
Let’s talk about ankle MRIs and where you can get one in Baltimore.
What is an Ankle MRI?
An ankle MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the bones, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the ankle joint. It helps the doctor evaluate the cause of slow injury healing. The images produced by an MRI are far more detailed and differentiated than an X-ray, since X-rays do not typically show tiny fractures and soft tissue injuries. For example, ankle instability is often caused by ligament damage, which may not come up on an X-ray, but will clearly show on an MRI scan. Other things that can pop up on an ankle MRI area weakened ankle joint, swelling of the tendons, and signs of infection. It can also be used to evaluate a lump to determine if it’s benign or malignant.
When you think of MRI, you think of being inside a large metal tube. However, for an ankle MRI, that is not necessary. Only the leg portion is placed inside the MRI machine to be scanned, which is good news for those with claustrophobia.
The results of an ankle MRI are usually available after the test but will need to be analyzed by the radiologist and provided to your referring physician afterward. Compared to a CT scan, an MRI is uncomplicated and provides straightforward results. CT scans often use contrast dyes to highlight the area of the body that needs to be investigated, and the patient needs to fast to prepare for it. Additionally, a contrast agent can cause an allergic reaction in many people. With an ankle MRI, you don’t have to deal with all of this. Instead, you simply show up for your appointment on time, change into a hospital robe, and get the scan done within minutes.
An ankle MRI can only be performed if it is recommended by your orthopedic doctor. Trust your doctor’s advice if they request an ankle MRI, as it will help them investigate your issue further and determine the extent of the problem.
Ankle Injury Treatment in Baltimore and the Surrounding Areas
Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland offers on-site diagnostic imaging services, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing. We have two board-certified orthopedic surgeons on our team – Dr. Roberto Brandão and Dr. Marc N. Lipton – who specialize in foot and ankle treatments. Both Dr. Brandãoand Dr. Lipton can determine if an MRI is better suited to evaluate your condition.
Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland is a full-service facility with locations in Eldersburg, Catonsville, or Columbia, providing diagnostic, treatment, and rehabilitation services. To schedule an appointment, use our online request form or call our office today at (410) 644-1880. We look forward to your call.