Recent ultrasound training at the Brunel University only fuelled my interest in further education in the field of medical sonography.

MSK (musculoskeletal) Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce pictures of muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and joints throughout the body. There are no side effects and no radiation that patients are exposed to.

Medical ultrasound (US) can be a powerful tool in the hands of clinician. It can help answer one key question; what type of injury are we dealing with?  US is used in various fields of medicine, and in physiotherapy we use it often to assess musculoskeletal injuries.

It is particularly useful when we suspect an injury outside the joint (extra-articular injuries). For that reason, it may be used to assess such injuries like:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Shoulder injuries – impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tears, bursitis
  • Knee injuries – ligamentous injuries, bursitis, tendinopathy, pes anserine, ITB syndrome and many other problems
  • A wide array of sport injuries

Ultrasound will not be good however at assessing spinal injuries or telling us what is happening within the joint (MRI would be a much better option).

Ultrasound is however much cheaper, and more accessible to patients than MRI. It simply takes minutes to produce images that may help with selecting the best treatment pathway for patient.

Further reading: Understand the difference between US and MRI and which investigation might be better for you

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