Part I of this comprehensive review on magnetic resonance imaging of the elbow discusses normal elbow anatomy and the technical factors involved in obtaining high-quality magnetic resonance images of the elbow. Part I also discusses the role of magnetic resonance imaging in evaluating patients with osseous abnormalities of the elbow. With proper patient positioning and imaging technique, magnetic resonance imaging can yield high-quality multiplanar images which are useful in evaluating the osseous structures of the elbow. Magnetic resonance imaging can detect early osteochondritis dissecans of the capitellum and can be used to evaluate the size, location, stability, and viability of the osteochondritis dissecans fragment. Magnetic resonance imaging can detect early stress injury to the proximal ulna in athletes. Magnetic resonance imaging can detect radiographically occult fractures of the elbow in both children and adults. Magnetic resonance imaging is also useful in children to further evaluate elbow fractures which are detected on plain-film radiographs.