Most people will generally associate ultrasound at a gynaecologist where the gender of the baby is determined. However, ultrasound can also be used to treat muscles, ligament and bone injuries.
Therapeutic ultrasound is the use of sound wave to stimulate the tissues underneath the skin. The frequency of these sound waves are very high and cannot be heard by humans.
It is generally used for relief of pain, strains of the muscles, fractures, soft tissue injuries, and joint inflammation.
Therapeutic ultrasound works by using a vibration in the head of the ultrasound probe and the ultrasound waves will bypass the skin and cause a vibration in the soft tissues. This will cause a deep heating sensation which may be felt by the patient. This will cause the blood vessels in the surrounding area to expand and more blood will flow to there. Also, the heat will increase the metabolic rate of the cells in the surrounding tissues, promoting healing.
However, if the problem is an acute injury where there is a lot of inflammation, a cold setting ultrasound must be used as the heat can cause the inflammation to be worse. Instead of a continuous ultrasound, pulsed ultrasound will be blasted into the tissues. This will cause the cells to promote healing without the effect from the heat.
The probe will cover the affected area for about 3-7 minutes, depending on the severity of the condition. There may be a heating sensation or tingling sensation during the session of ultrasound.
Most patients will experience heat during the session. 1 common side effect is getting burned if the setting is too hot. However, the podiatrist will constantly check on you and adjust the settings if it gets too warm.
After the session of ultrasound, some patients reported that there is increased swelling and pain. Icing the area will bring down the swelling and pain will usually reduce the next few days after ultrasound.
Many patients reported a decrease of pain immediately after the initial session of therapeutic ultrasound. However, most conditions require about 3-6 sessions of ultrasound to fully recover. Our podiatrists will determine the severity of your condition and recommend the number of sessions needed to treat you.