A ligament is a strong price of fibrous connective tissue that connects two bones together to form a joint. They help to provide support and stability to a joint during movement. X-rays do not show injuries to a ligament, but can show fractures associated with a broken bone. However, one exception is a stress x-ray, which can demonstrate instability of a joint and imply that the ligament has been torn to allow a joint to have non physiologic motion like a shoulder dislocation or a torn ligament in an ankle sprain. An MRI is the best radiographic study to confirm the diagnose a ligament injury. An MRI uses magnetic wave to show normal and abnormal tissues like ligaments, muscles, cartilage, tendons, bones, and fluids like inflammation, water, blood or infection.
When ligaments are damaged due to aging or disease, the joint may lose the support, stability and or the normal movement of the joint. Consequently, the unstable joint may develop secondary changes such as swelling, deformity, dislocation, loose bodies, or arthritis which can be seen on an x-rays. To learn more about ligament damages seen on x-rays, visit with your orthopaedic surgeon. For more information, visit www.OrthoInfo.org.