MRI Scan

Crowtoad Member Posts: 7
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:05 in Living with arthritis

I have asked for an MRI scan to determine the cause of my knee pain and swelling. This has been refused by doctors and physios so far as they say I have to go through other channels first. Is this normal procedure or should I insist on a scan. At least it would put my mind at rest as I cannot help thinking it could be something more serious than arthritis.


  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,656

    Hello @Crowtoad

    Welcome to the Online Community from me. I see you are suffering with knee pain and swelling. It is not at all unusual for Drs to do other tests and procedures before sending you for an MRI. Blood tests Xrays and Physios for instance.

    I am attaching a link to information about Osteoarthritis for you to look at. If you scroll down you will find a section about Diagnosis then tests which should help a bit.

    It is very unfortunate for you that you are needing investigations as this time with COVID-19 adding extra pressure on the NHS.

    I will leave our members to share their own experience for now.

    Best wishes and do keep posting.


  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,742
    edited 3. Nov 2020, 23:14

    My physio about two years ago suggested an X-ray would be helpful to see if there was any “wear and tear” contributing to the long term and increasing pains in my left leg and reduced mobility in the hip. My Doc said “no” on the basis that “if it’s just wear and tear there wouldn’t be any treatment for it”, and I guess if it was anything else pain relief and physio would deal with it. I think these tools (MRI and Xray) are limited to assisting clinical diagnosis on long term severe conditions, acute conditions or or trauma injuries.

    Tbh I can see their point, given how expensive these tests are and high levels of demand, as well as massive underfunding and under-resourcing of the NHS. If you’re in the early stages of your condition (whatever it may be), there are probably a number of treatments open to you that can manage the condition and reduce the symptoms.

    However, after a fall in Feb this year, the pain levels went through the roof, hip mobility plummeted and my doc decided it was finally time for an X-ray to find out what I’d done to it, followed by a telephone consultation with a musculoskeletal consultant, who promptly sent me for another Xray, as the pain continued getting much worse very fast, which isn’t normal for osteoarthritis and he suspected traumatic bone damage (none was found but I have my own theory about that). Long story short, within a few days I was told I need a new hip, but it was still 8 months before I got to see an orthopaedic consultant, and despite the fact I have The Best Limp in Town, and now struggle to get around at all, I still have no idea if and when a new hip is going to happen, as the NHS is now teetering on the edge.

    i recounted the second half of my tale to show that feeling you need a scan is no guarantee to your doc agreeing with you, based on their training and clinical experience, not to mention managing their budget within funding available to their NHS Trust (the joys of the postcode lottery). Taking the process further, I could insist on a new hip till I was blue in the face, but if the consultants say no, or “not yet”, there’s not a lot I can do about it.

    I don’t think we have a right to insist on xrays and scans on the NHS, but that may be different if you decide to go private, but I have no experience of how that would work, nor whether the costs involved would actually benefit you in terms of opening up more targeted treatment options at this stage.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,489
    edited 4. Nov 2020, 06:49

    Hi @Crowtoad very nice to meet you and say welcome to the forum from me 🐸

    I think knees are very complicated joints so understand your Drs not being sure what's wrong and of course COVID has made it very hard to see Drs and physios as well as to have investigative tests done.🙄

    Usually when they suspect arthritis they do blood tests and also an X-ray. MRIs they seem to hang on forever for although my own husband got one for his knee (torn ligament) without any hassle at all first visit to the GP. I was convinced it to be a gender issue myself and he gets better treatment than me!!! Might be being unfair there, but it's weird otherwise.

    MRIs cost money that's the bottom line and so 'they' try to avoid paying for them. My husband's MRI did indeed show straight away what was wrong and he started on physio then COVID put paid to that anyway.

    If you can afford it you can pay for one yourself - many here have resorted to paying, but it isn't cheap. Eventually you probably will get one or other suitable tests which will give you definitive diagnosis, but it's how long you can and are prepared to wait.

    Wishing you all the best.