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Thigh MRI

When to Consider a Thigh MRI for Pain Relief?

Experiencing persistent or severe thigh pain can be a significant concern, often disrupting daily activities and overall quality of life. If conservative treatments such as rest, physical therapy, and medications have failed to alleviate the discomfort, a thigh MRI might be necessary. This imaging technique provides detailed insights into the structures within the thigh, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones, helping identify the underlying cause of pain.

How Thigh MRI Can Help Diagnose Your Pain?

Thigh MRIs offer unparalleled detail in visualizing soft tissues. This non-invasive procedure can help diagnose conditions such as muscle tears, ligament injuries, tendonitis, and even bone issues. By providing a clear and comprehensive view of the internal thigh anatomy, MRI aids in pinpointing the exact source of pain, ensuring accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning.

What does Thigh MRI show?

A thigh MRI provides detailed images that can reveal various types of muscle damage and soft tissue injuries, making it a valuable diagnostic tool, especially for athletes and active individuals.

Muscle Injuries

A thigh MRI can identify several muscle-related issues:

  • Muscle Strains: Tears in muscle fibers, often caused by overuse or sudden force.
  • Muscle Contusions: Bruising within the muscle tissue due to impact injuries.
  • Myositis: Inflammation of the muscle, indicated by swelling and fluid accumulation.

Understanding Muscle Tears and Strains

Thigh MRI helps distinguish between different grades of muscle tears:

  • Grade I: Mild damage with minimal fiber disruption.
  • Grade II: Partial tear with significant fiber disruption.
  • Grade III: Complete tear, often requiring surgical intervention.
Soft Tissue Injuries

Thigh MRI is effective in diagnosing soft tissue injuries involving muscles, tendons, and ligaments:

  • Tendonitis: Inflammation of tendons due to repetitive motion or overuse.
  • Ligament Sprains: Stretching or tearing of ligaments, common in sports injuries.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of bursae, the small fluid-filled sacs that cushion bones, tendons, and muscles.
Coronal Views in Thigh MRI

Coronal views provide a frontal plane perspective, offering a comprehensive assessment of:

  • Symmetry between both thighs
  • Alignment of bones and joints
  • The extent of soft tissue injuries
Diagnosing Tendon Injuries

Thigh MRI can accurately diagnose tendon injuries, such as tendinitis and tendon tears, by:

  • Visualizing tendon integrity and structure
  • Identifying areas of inflammation or degeneration
  • Assessing the severity of tendon damage
Detecting Ligament Tears

Thigh MRI is essential for detecting ligament tears by showing:

  • Partial or complete tears in ligaments
  • Associated injuries, such as bone bruising or muscle damage
  • Precise location and extent of the tear
Identifying Bursitis

Thigh MRI can detect bursitis by:

  • Showing fluid accumulation in the bursae
  • Identifying surrounding tissue inflammation
  • Assessing the impact on nearby structures

Overall, a thigh MRI provides comprehensive insights into the anatomy and injuries of the thigh, helping in the accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning for various conditions.

How long does a Thigh MRI take?

Thigh MRI Scan Duration

  • A thigh MRI, which includes the upper leg/hamstring area, generally takes 30-45 minutes on average.
  • The duration can vary depending on the specific body part being imaged - for example, an MRI of just the thigh bone (femur) may take longer than a routine knee MRI .
  • Factors that can influence the scan time include the number of images needed, the use of contrast dye, and whether the patient requires sedation.

Preparing for Your Thigh MRI: Tips and Guidelines

Preparing for a thigh MRI involves several key steps to ensure a smooth and successful procedure:

  1. Clothing: Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing without metal parts. You may need to change into a hospital gown.
  2. Jewelry and Accessories: Remove all metal objects, including jewelry, watches, and hairpins, as they can interfere with the imaging process.
  3. Medical History: Inform your doctor about any medical conditions, allergies, or previous surgeries. Mention any implanted medical devices, as some may not be MRI-compatible.
  4. Fasting: Follow any specific instructions regarding eating and drinking before the exam, especially if contrast material will be used.
  5. Relaxation Techniques: If you are claustrophobic, discuss options for relaxation or sedation with your doctor.


A thigh MRI is an invaluable diagnostic tool that offers comprehensive insights into various conditions affecting the thigh. From muscle tears and tendon injuries to ligament sprains and bone fractures, MRI provides detailed images that guide accurate diagnoses and effective treatment plans. By understanding the importance and capabilities of thigh MRI, patients can make informed decisions about their healthcare and take proactive steps toward pain relief and recovery.

If you're experiencing persistent thigh pain or suspect an injury, consider scheduling a thigh MRI to get the answers you need. Also, always discuss your issues with your doctor. 

Visit GetScanned today to book your MRI appointment and take the first step toward understanding and alleviating your pain.

Lorea content writter
Reviewed by
Dr. Sachin Shah
Clinical Lead
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Frequently asked questions

Do I need a GP-referral?

No prior GP-referral is required. Booking with us includes a GP phone consultation and referral. Shortly after booking you will be contacted by a GP from our team who will discuss your scan and provide a referral.

How long is an MRI scan?

MRI scans generally take a bit longer than other types of scans. Individual scans take 10-30 minutes depending on the body part being scanned, overall it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 90 minutes. You do have to lay very still for an MRI and if there is movement the scan may need to be repeated which can add some additional time.

What’s included in my booking?

With your GetScanned booking, you will receive:

  • A pre-scan phone consultation with a member of our medical team.
  • A referral for the scan.
  • Scheduling of a private MRI scan at your preferred scanning centre.
  • Access to your written report by a radiologist.
  • Access to your scan images (online and downloadable).

How much is a private MRI scan?

A private MRI scan cost varies depending on the part of the body being scanned and the location the scan is performed. Generally, a private MRI scan in the UK starts at around £350, and includes the scheduling, scan itself and results.

What’s the difference between an open and closed MRI?

Closed MRI machines are the traditional and first type of MRI. They are used more frequently because they provide higher quality images, however they aren’t ideal for certain types of scan or when the patient has limited mobility. Open or wide-bore MRI machines don’t involve lying in a tight cylinder, instead they have wider openings with more space and are therefore considered better if you suffer from claustrophobia. A standing MRI or upright MRI is a new type of open MRI that allows the patient to be in various different positions, including weight bearing positions. If you would prefer an open MRI please filter by MRI type to find an open MRI near you, but please be aware it is only available at certain locations.

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