Ultrasound, also known as sonography, is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce real-time and dynamic images of the body. Ultrasound is increasingly being used to assist Sports Medicine Physicians, Rheumatologists, Orthopedists, and Primary Care Physicians in performing evaluations and injections of different muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. With the advancement of this technology, ultrasound machines have become smaller and more portable. This has allowed treating clinicians to be able to use real time, point of care ultrasound, to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Although ultrasound is frequently used to identify injuries or abnormalities; it is also used when performing injections into the knee, shoulder and hip.
Injections can be beneficial for both the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of a variety of problems involving the hip, shoulder, and knee. Typical problems include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, labral tears, muscle tears, ligament tears and tendonopathies. Injections have been used in the management of inflammatory and degenerative conditions when rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications fail to provide adequate relief. The use of ultrasound improves the accuracy of the injection of corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid or other therapies such as Platelet Rich Plasma, Prolotherapy or Stem Cells. Ultrasound can also be used for joint aspirations to rule out joint infection or gout. Lastly, guided injections can be used diagnostically to help determine which structures are generating the patient’s pain.