Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a valuable diagnostic tool that can help physical therapists better treat their patients. More often than not, an ultrasound diagnostic may not alter the way a physical therapist treats a patient. However, sometimes it does. In certain cases, it may be better to rule certain pathologies out so the patient doesn’t have to experience a ‘wait and see’ approach. By providing detailed images of the bones, muscles, and joints, ultrasound can help identify the underlying causes of pain and dysfunction, allowing therapists to develop a targeted treatment plan that can improve function and alleviate pain.
One of the key benefits of ultrasound is its ability to identify soft tissue injuries, such as muscle strains and ligament sprains. These injuries can be difficult to diagnose using other imaging techniques, such as X-rays, but ultrasound can provide real-time images of the affected area, allowing therapists to identify the extent and location of the injury. It can be particularly helpful to determine if the patient has a muscle, ligament, or tendon tears when it comes to prescribing treatment to the patient.
Additionally, when patients see and understand the definitive cause of their pain or injury, their engagement in fixing the issue increases significantly. Patients who receive an objective diagnostic report return for more visits, perform assigned exercises and stretches more often, and elect for other therapies more readily.