MRI plays a critical role in all orthopaedic practices. A basic working knowledge of the most commonly used pulse sequences in musculoskeletal imaging and the appearance of normal tissues on those sequences is critical to confident MRI interpretation. The orthopaedic surgeon should be familiar with appropriate use of intravenous and intra-articular contrast and its limitations. Concepts key to MRI interpretation include image contrast and resolution, signal, noise, and pulse sequence. Recent advances in anatomic and functional imaging highlight the robust potential of MRI for musculoskeletal evaluation. As MRI technology evolves, the orthopaedic surgeon must stay current on these technologic advances to use this tool to its fullest potential.