Orthopedist Questions Orthopedist

Will an x-ray show a torn ligament in an ankle?

I am a 17 year old male. I want to know will an x-ray show a torn ligament in an ankle?

22 Answers

An X-ray will not directly show a torn ligament in the ankle. However, to diagnose a torn ligament, you would need additional imaging techniques such as an MRI or an ultrasound, which are better suited for assessing soft tissues like ligaments. If you suspect a ligament injury, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.

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No it doesn't, mri is needed to assess ligament (soft tissue) ailments or conditions.
No. Either an MRI or MSK ultrasound is needed for that
No, the X-ray may not show soft tissue problems specifically. But would pick up bony structures or indicate swelling around a joint in the body. Soft tissue such as ligaments, muscles and others could be viewed with MRI, CT scan, or Ultrasound
Usually not unless the ligament tear is so bad that the ankle is dislocated (out of place).
X-rays are used to look at osseous or bone structures.
X-rays will only shoe bone pathology. A ligament injury will likely require additional imaging. I recommend you schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon (podiatrist) for a diagnosis and treatment options. Also, you should inform your parents of this so they may make your medical decisions until you are 18 years old.
X-rays only show us the bones, what we could see is maybe a small chip fracture in the area of the ligament and then we know the ligament pulled away from the bone. An MRI is what is needed to look at torn ligaments.
An x-ray will not show a torn ligament. You will need an ultrasound or an MRI.
Maybe, depending on which ligament and how severely. This needs to be evaluated by your doc
No. X-rays only show bone pathology. You can only see a ligament tear or sprain on an MRI

X-rays only show bone, but sometimes, depending on the ligament's attachment site, you can see if a piece of the bone is pulled off, which would lead to ordering an MRI. You would need an MRI to see in regards to injuries to the ligaments and tendons.
No. X-rays are taken mainly to evaluate for fractures and not for torn ligaments. MRI is recommended for evaluation of ligament injury.
An X-ray only looks at bone. We can gather information about the ligament by noting avulsion fractures which occur when the ligament causes the bone to fracture. However, to truly assess a ligament tear an ultrasound is a better test followed by an MRI if necessary.
X-rays do not show broken ligaments or tendons. That needs to be done through an MRI. X-rays only show the bone structure or the joint structure.
Not typically unless the injury is severe. Normally a clinical examination and potentially may require MRI
Only if there is a change in the joint spaces. Unlikely. MRI would be a better tool for soft tissue.
An X-ray won't show ligament tears; it will show separation of bones where the ligament is connected.
No, it is soft tissue which will not show in the X-ray.
No. X-rays will show bony deformities and disruptions (fractures). Ligaments are soft tissues. Clinical evaluation is usually how sprains are evaluated. However, extensive damage or multiple ligament damage can be confirmed through MRI.
Only with displacement of the bones or a stress X-ray. An X-ray is a good first test, but an MRI is the best imaging study to diagnose a torn ankle ligament.

Good luck,

Dr. L

You cannot evaluate a torn ligament on an X-ray. An MRI is more useful for this.

Dr. Lui