What's Diagnostic Ultrasound & How Does It Work?

James Walker
March 2, 2021

Most people have heard of ultrasound scans in relation to scanning babies within the womb. We use the exact same technology to look at structures such as muscles, tendons ligaments, nerves and joints. It is used to diagnose sprains, tears, strains, inflammation or wear and tear of these structures.

How does it work?

It works by placing a layer of gel then a handheld transducer over the area of interest on the patients’ body. Sound waves are omitted from this transducer and the ultrasound scanner converts the echoes of these sound waves into an image on the screen which can be used to diagnose the issue.

Unlike X-rays or CT scans, ultrasound does not use ionising radiation so is completely safe even with multiple scans.

The image produced is also in real time so structures can be assessed dynamically for example looking at the integrity of the tendons within the shoulder as the patient moves their arm out to the side.

Is it not better to get an MRI scan?

MRI scans are useful for certain conditions such as assessing disc herniations in the spine or cartilage tears in the knee however the vast majority of musculoskeletal conditions can be accurately assessed withan ultrasound scan.

MRI scanners are only found in hospitals so waiting lists are usually long whereas ultrasound scanners are small portable pieces of equipment, therefore a physiotherapy assessment and ultrasound scan can be done within the same appointment with little to no waiting list.

Who will perform the ultrasound scan?

One of our Senior Physiotherapists James Walker, will carry out the assessment. He has undertaken post graduate training at the University of Derby in ‘Medical Ultrasound’ and will combine this with his 11 years of experience as a Physiotherapist to provide an accurate diagnosis and recommendations on the most effective treatment plan.

How do I find out more information or book in for a consultation?

If you have any questions related to a physiotherapy assessment with diagnostic ultrasound scan or would like to book a consultation then get in touch today on

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