Ultrasounds can be used to find out more about a problem that could be going on in an athlete’s body. This is especially true for soft tissue problems. Soft tissues include muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.
Ultrasound exams are very convenient because they are done in the office with real-time results. They are also much less expensive than MRIs, which in the past were the go-to method of looking deep inside the soft tissues and muscle. While there are times when having an MRI would be more appropriate for the situation, most sports-related injuries can be diagnosed with simple ultrasounds. Ultrasounds are also easily reproducible, which allows us to track healing or changes in your condition.
When administering injection or aspiration treatments to specific soft tissues or even joints, sports medicine physicians can use ultrasounds to guide the procedure or treatment. Aspiration is a method of removing fluid, bad tissue, and in some ways even calcium build-up through a minimally invasive needle. Injection is a way to deliver medicine, such as cortisone, or regenerative solutions (platelet-rich plasma, saline, or whole blood) to an injured or damaged tissue or joint. By utilizing ultrasound, sports medicine physicians can very precisely and accurately treat the affected tissue. They can ensure the medicine gets to the right place and can avoid poking needles into tissues where they don’t belong (arteries, nerves, etc.)!