Author | Charles L. Nelson, MD

Articles

MRI for Evaluating Knee Pain in Older Patients: How Useful Is It?

October 29, 2008

Knee pain is a common complaint in older patients, andosteoarthritis is the leading cause.We prospectively evaluated the diagnosticpatterns of nonorthopedic physicians in 100 consecutive patientsolder than 60 years who had knee pain. Our study shows thatthere is a lack of consensus about the use radiographic studies for diagnosisof knee pain in older patients.Weight-bearing radiographs areideal for evaluating knee pain. MRI frequently is overly sensitive in detectingpathology and often underestimates joint-space narrowingand arthrosis. MRI also represents a much larger cost and burden onthe health care system. MRI is indicated when the cause of knee painis not readily apparent after careful physical and radiographic evaluation.(J Musculoskel Med. 2008;25:500-504)