A radiograph is basically also known as an X-Ray, where it is a picture of the bones. It does not show a good evaluation of the nerves or of the soft tissue rather. Really just a picture of the bones themselves. But the diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made based upon radiographic findings (what we see on an X-Ray.) So it’s specific for that and can tell us, not only if there is the presence of arthritis, but also the degree of that type of arthritis.
When we’re looking at any kind of muscle, ligament, tendon, or other soft tissue injury, then usually we will order an MRI. For suspecting that the injury is coming from any of the soft tissue, including muscles, tendons, ligaments. If there’s any suspicion of another source for the hip pain as well, in terms of the back, for instance, which can commonly come along with the hip pain, then we would do, order an MRI of the lower back, more specifically, the lumbosacral spine.
If we are suspicious for any type of tear in the cartilage of the joint — of the hip joint, also known as a labral tear, then a specific test for that would be to do a MRI with an arthrogram. Where we can put a little bit of lidocaine, which is an anesthetic, into the joint — hip joint itself. And that is both diagnostic and as well could be therapeutic, after seeing if the lidocaine made any difference in the patient’s symptoms.