10 things to know about ultrasound imaging in sports medicine


Diagnostic and interventional ultrasound imaging has several uses in sports medicine, and the field is rapidly evolving.

Here are 10 things to know about ultrasound imaging in sports medicine.

1. The indications for diagnostic ultrasound in sports medicine include musculoskeletal imaging as well as imaging for ocular trauma, thoracoabdominal trauma and cardiac morphology, according to an article in PM&R.

2. Ultrasonography shows tissue structure with two-dimensional grayscale images. According to a Journal of Medical Ultrasound review, it is the preferred imaging modality to dynamically study soft tissue lesions.

3. Ultrasound-guided procedures have expanded from joint and tendon sheath injections to include ultrasound-guided sports medicine surgical procedures.

4. Ultrasound imaging can be effectively used to diagnose musculoskeletal sports medicine conditions including rotator cuff disease, ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow injury and internal derangement of the knee, according to an article in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review.

5. Clinical usage of ultrasound imaging for sports medicine has been limited by the cost of the ultrasound unit, provider perception of time associated with assessment and lack of formal diagnostic imaging training.

6. Ultrasound imaging could also be used to help athletes monitor their muscle glycogen stores, according to a clinical review in Sports Health.

7. Ultrasound is often used to guide sports medicine interventions such as aspirations, diagnostic or therapeutic injections, tenotomies, releases and hydrodissections, according to an American Medical Society for Sports Medicine position statement.

8. According to the AMSSM position statement and review of the literature, ultrasound-guided injections are more accurate and cost-effective than landmark-guided injections.

9. Sonoelastography examination, which facilitates imaging of stiffness in soft tissue, can potentially be used to diagnose sports injuries.

10. Compact ultrasound machine are becoming more widely available, leading to quick ultrasonographic diagnosis of sports injuries on the field.

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