Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


My husband hurt his shoulder and it was finally diagnosed as a subacromial impingement. He had had x-rays and stuff done, but the doctor diagnosed him after he examined my husband and had him move his shoulder around. Why was this not seen on the x-rays?


Not all injuries or problems involving the shoulder (or other joints) can be seen on x-rays. X-rays show the bones and some of the body structure, but not everything. In cases such as your husband's, the x-rays are good for ruling out other medical problems that could have been causing pain, such as a fracture or a dislocation. Lori A. Michener, PhD, PT, ATC, et al. Reliability and Diagnostic Accuracy of 5 Physical Examination Tests and Combination of Tests for Subacromial Impingement. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. November 2009. Vol. 90. Pp. 1898 to 1903.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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