Radiology plays an important role in the investigation of many sports medicine injuries. The most widely ordered studies include X-rays and ultrasound scans. X-rays are the simplest modality for defining bony injuries, while ultrasound enables assessment of many soft-tissue structures including muscles, tendons and ligaments. In general terms, these investigations are complementary and an ultrasound scan should not be ordered in isolation. There are a range of other modalities which can be useful. These include CT, MRI and scintigraphy (and other nuclear-medicine scans). The single most widely used high-tech imaging modality is MRI. This provides good quality bone and soft tissue detail.
This module will review each of the individual imaging modalities commonly used in sports medicine and discuss the strengths and limitations of each. It will also outline some of the potential problems associated with these investigations.