Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become the standard test for knee injuries. But you're right about the expense. One study stated that MRI is equal in cost to a doctor's
exam only if the cost of the MRI is less than $250.00. MRIs can cost much more than that.
The pendulum is now swinging back the other way. Studies show a doctor's exam is just as good as an MRI . . . most of the time. This assumes the doctor is well-trained in evaluating knee injuries.
An MRI does offer some information to help the doctor direct treatment. The MRI can show where the cartilage (meniscus) or ligament (ACL) is torn and how large the tear is. This helps in deciding between rehab and surgery. This information can be very helpful with
elite athletes trying to get back on the field.