To evaluate most musculoskeletal injuries, a diagnostic ultrasound evaluation is the best option. It is superior to most other methods of evaluation for several reasons. X-rays can be beneficial for identifying bone abnormalities such as fractures, spurs & bone changes associated with osteoarthritis, but do not show soft tissue injuries. MRIs can show soft tissue changes, although often, they are used with heavy metal based dyes primarily to evaluate joint cartilage and can be expensive.
Ultrasound is the ideal diagnostic device to evaluate muscle, tendon and ligament damage. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create a real-time image of the area of injury without the need for heavy metal based dyes, or the cost associated with MRIs. In addition to identifying areas of current injury, the diagnostic ultrasound can be used to identify weak areas in tendons, ligaments and muscles that can be treated before an injury happens.
Once injured areas are identified and treated, periodic re-assessments can be done to determine the percent change and the amount of therapy needed to completely heal an injury.