Diagnostic ultrasound for musculoskeletal conditions has been around for many years. Technology has improved significantly over recent years and ultrasound scans have become increasingly popular as a first line of investigation in musculoskeletal medicine. Accurate diagnosis is key to implementing the most effective treatment regime for your recovery and diagnostic ultrasound can provide an effective adjunct in this process.
Common things we scan for are:
Joint Swelling: possibly related to trauma or joint disease eg osteoarthritis.
Tendon Pathology: egachilles, patella and rotator cuff (shoulder) tendons and the tendons involved in tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.
Ligament Injuries: e.g. sprained ankle
Abdominal Muscle Contraction: “core” muscle activation biofeedback
Guided Injection Therapies: for bursitis and capsulitis (inflammation of a joint capsule)
Why are ultrasound scans useful in musculoskeletal medicine:
One of the problems interpreting images, be they ultrasound or MRI, is what is considered normal? Not every detail on imaging is clinically significant. Ultrasound allows for a quick comparison of the other limb to see if pathology seen in the symptomatic limb is present or absent on an asymptomatic limb.
What are the shortcomings of ultrasound scan
There is no statutory register of clinicians or required standard of training in musculoskeletal sonography. You could buy a machine, do a 1 day course and set up in business providing scans (but please don’t!). When looking for a clinician, CASE accreditation is a good place to start. CASE is an organization that exists to accredit sonographic courses delivered in the UK to ensure the highest standards are met.
Ed Stephens is clinical director at the Grosvenor Physiotherapy Clinic and is a highly specialised physiotherapist, trained in the use of diagnostic ultrasound to help diagnose muscle, tendon, ligament and joint problems.
He has been using ultrasound in his clinical practice almost daily for the past 7 years and intermittently for 4 years before that. He has done numerous post graduate courses in sonography, including at the centre for ultrasound studies in Bournemouth, gaining his CASE accreditation 6 years ago. This involved a series of academic exercises in science and instrumentation and case studies as well as attaining a logbook of supervised scans and finally a day long practical exam on patients overseen by a radiologist.
Arrange a scan
If you would like to arrange an ultrasound scan or would like more information please call us on 01638 667606 or email us.
Please note we are unfortunately not able to provide CD discs of scans taken from our machines. Also, we recommend use of ultrasound provided in clinic as an accessible first line of assessment. If required, we can refer on for MRI or further investigation at a local private hospital.