When do you need an MRI scan for your wrist?

MRI and CT Scan
MRI scan

Wrist injuries can happen to anyone – it doesn’t matter whether you do CrossFit five times a week, or hardly exercise. A sudden impact, repetitive stress, or arthritis, can all lead to wrist injuries.

Sometimes self-care – rest and application of ice – is recommended for minor injuries like sprains. But how do you know if it’s a serious injury? If you have these symptoms and they persist for several days, it is advisable to seek medical help

Your doctor may first conduct a physical examination, by checking your wrist for tenderness/swelling, asking you to move your wrist to check range of motion, and by assessing your forearm and grip strength. If needed, they may then recommend an MRI or x-ray scan, to get a more accurate diagnosis. Here are some instances where you may need an x-ray or other scans.

Persistent or extreme pain

If you have extreme pain and have difficulty in moving your wrist, that is cause for concern. Similarly, if you have pain or tenderness that won’t go away after a few weeks, despite the first-line of treatment, your doctor may consider asking for an X-ray or MRI scan.


An edema or swelling could indicate a serious injury – and should not be neglected. If you have a swelling on your wrist that lasts for more than a couple of days, head to the doctor’s office immediately. In this case, an X-ray or MRI may highlight the cause of injury, such as fractures, or ligament/tendon/cartilage injury.

Numbness or tingling

Another symptom that should not be ignored is numbness, tingling (pins and needles), and the loss of feeling in your wrist – if these persist, get your wrist checked out immediately by a medical professional.


Any kind of deformity, or irregularity, such as a bent wrist, or joint irregularities, may call for an X-ray, MRI, or any other scan, in order to diagnose the exact underlying problem.

Discoloration and bruising

Notice bruising on your wrist, or a reddish/bluish discoloration beneath the skin? Keep checking your wrist and if this discoloration persists, along with pain, it’s best to go to a doctor.

Limited motion

Difficulty in moving your arm or wrist could mean that your wrist injury may be more severe than you expected. If you can’t flex your joints or are finding it hard to carry or hold objects, further tests may be in order.

If you’re worried that your wrist pain may indicate a serious injury, you can find out for certain with a simple wrist X-ray, or MRI scan. If you’ve already been recommended an MRI/X-ray, read these important facts before choosing a diagnostic centre. A delayed diagnosis may lead to difficulty in healing, disability, or loss in motion, so take care and visit the doctor as soon as necessary.

About Star Imaging

Star Imaging offers the world's most advanced scanning machines including 3T MRI scanners with ambient experience, 128 slice CT scanners, Digital X-ray machines, etc. and has 12 super-specialized radiologists. Call us for more information.
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