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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has advanced significantly in the past decade and provides a safe and non-invasive method of evaluating peripheral artery disease (PAD), with and without using exogenous contrast agents. MRI offers a promising alternative for imaging patients but the complexity of MRI can make it less accessible for physicians to understand or use. This article provides a brief introduction to the technical principles of MRI for physicians who manage PAD patients. We discuss the basic principles of how MRI works and tailor the discussion to how MRI can evaluate anatomic characteristics of peripheral arterial lesions.