This test is an x-ray of a knee, shoulder, hip, wrist, ankle, or other joint.
How is the Test Performed?
The test is done in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider's office. The x-ray technologist will help you position the joint to be x-rayed on the table. Once in place, pictures are taken. The joint may be moved into other positions for more images.
Preparation for the Test
Tell the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry before the x-ray.
How will the Test Feel?
The x-ray is painless. It may be uncomfortable to move the joint into different positions.
Why is the Test Performed?
The x-ray is used to detect fractures, tumors, or degenerative conditions of the joint.
What Abnormal Results Mean
The x-ray may show:
- Bone tumors
- Degenerative bone conditions
- Osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone caused by an infection)
The test may also be performed to find out more about the following conditions:
- Acute gouty arthritis (gout)
- Adult-Onset Still's disease
- Caplan syndrome
- Chondromalacia patellae
- Chronic gouty arthritis
- Congenital dislocation of the hip
- Fungal arthritis
- Non-gonococcal (septic) bacterial arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Reiter syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Runner's knee
- Tuberculous arthritis
Joint x-ray Risks
There is low radiation exposure. X-ray machines are set to provide the smallest amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of the x-ray.
Renner JB. Conventional radiography in musculoskeletal imaging. Radiol Clin North Am. 2009 May;47(3):357-72.
|Review Date: 4/14/2013
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.