Could Musculoskeletal Ultrasound be the right option for your Musculoskeletal Problem?

by Emma Penfold / 09 December 2020 / No Comments

We often associate ultrasound scan with pregnancy as it immediately conjures up image of a baby in utero.  However, ultrasound scan has a much larger use as a diagnostic and treatment modality. A Musculoskeletal (MSK) ultrasound uses that same technology to obtain images of the musculoskeletal system. For example, if a patient suffered a shoulder injury, a MSK ultrasound is used to see the structure of the joint and supportive tissue. Looking at prevalence and impact, it is estimated that up to 30% of all GP consultations are about musculoskeletal complaints. Of the annual incidence of all disorders presenting to primary care, shoulder pain accounts for 1.47% of the UK population and is the third most common musculoskeletal disorder after back and neck pain.

Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce images of muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints throughout the body. Many conditions can be diagnosed with ultrasound scan as the real time imaging while the patient reproduces his or her symptoms. This is particularly useful for demonstrating causes of pain, muscle and tendon tears. It is safe, non-invasive and does not involve radiation.

It is a good tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures such as steroid injections, fluid aspiration and to measure their progress throughout treatment. It has no known harmful effects on humans.

Ultrasound images are typically used to help diagnose:

  • Tendon tears or tendinopathy of the rotator cuff in the shoulder, Achilles tendon and many other tendons throughout the body.
  • Muscle tears, fluid collections.
  • Ligament sprains or tears.
  • Inflammation or fluid within the bursa and joints.
  • Nerve entrapments such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Ganglion cysts.

Alok completed his MSc from Sheffield Hallam University in 2008 and PG certificate in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound from Bournemouth University in 2018. He has been treating all types of MSK and sports related injuries at Thame Therapy clinic. He will be introducing Ultrasound Imaging in the new year to the clinic as part of the clinical consultations to help you in getting an accurate diagnosis and to evaluate which treatments are suitable for you, as well as monitoring your recovery over time.

For more information on how musculoskeletal physiotherapy can help treat your condition, or to book yourself an appointment, please contact us.

Article by: By Alok, Chartered Physiotherapist