Musculoskeletal Ultrasound – An X-Ray in Motion

The ‘X-Ray’ for Muscles, Tendons and Ligaments

Musculoskeletal Ultrasounds (MSUs) are my go-to when attempting to pin down an issue that we don’t believe to be bone related. That means they are perfect for diagnosing muscle, tendon, and ligament injury – as this dynamic investigative and explorable procedure tells us in seconds the make-up of your musculoskeletal system. We have found that MSU has been pivotal in helping diagnose sports injuries and others who find they are in pain when they move a joint. Traditional analysis like x-rays and MRIs take static images where MSUs create dynamic images in motion. Let’s explore that some more.

MSU is dynamic as it maps your tendon and ligament structure with intricate detail. The ultrasound is done while you move which allows us to watch your musculoskeletal system work in real time. It allows us physicians to see the detail in soft tissues, muscle tendons, and cartilage and can often catch fractures that were missed by x-rays. 

 Musculoskeletal Ultrasound – An X-Ray in Motion

The X-Ray for Sports People

Often, athletes report feeling pain or extreme discomfort when moving. For physicians to get a good look at any issues means that we need to see your muscles and tendons while the pain is experienced. As already alluded to, the MSU allows this where other investigative options may not. That’s a game changer. The MSU gives us better diagnostic capabilities and accuracy due to the ability to monitor athletes in motion and pinpoint exactly why there is pain. 

The MSU can also be done on anyone as it transfers no radiation to the patient. This means that anyone from LeBron James to somebody 9 months pregnant is eligible for MSU.

 Musculoskeletal ultrasounds are perfect for diagnosing a range of sports injuries.

Musculoskeletal ultrasounds are perfect for diagnosing a range of sports injuries.

Why Not X-Rays or MRI?

That’s a tough question. They both have their role. For example, the MRI is vastly superior in investigating disc pathology, vertebral anatomy, and cord abnormalities in the spine. An X-ray is still a fantastic method of investigating bone structure – damages and breaks. 

But we’ve known for a while now that X-Rays can pose a threat to a people’s health – both doctors’ and patients’. Unless absolutely necessary, we will use alterative methods to help diagnose your symptoms. Of course, we need investigative devices such as X-Rays because it is frustrating for everyone not being sure why you have certain symptoms, deciphering if something is strained, and most importantly – outlining the most effective recovery plan. X-rays and MRIs are still a staple in our diagnostic arsenal, especially for bone imaging, but alternative methods such as MSU are changing the game forever.