What To Know Before Your Ultrasound For Knee Pain

Posted on: 5 January 2022

If you have been dealing with knee pain, your doctor may send you in for a procedure called an ultrasound. An ultrasound scan involves the use of ultrasound waves to visualize what's going on inside the joint. It's a painless procedure, only takes a few minutes, and can be really helpful for your diagnostic process. Here are the key things you should know before you head in for ultrasound therapy.

It mostly reveals problems with ligaments and tendons.

If your doctor is referring you for an ultrasound, this is likely because they suspect your knee pain is due to an injury or problem with one of the many tendons or ligaments in your knee. And there are lots of tendons and ligaments in that joint! The ACL, MCL, patellar ligament, and quadriceps tendon are just a few of them. If the ultrasound does not reveal any issues with these tissues, that does not mean the test has been in vain. Rather, it gives your doctor evidence to rule out tendon and ligament problems as the cause of your knee pain. They may then turn their attention to bone and muscle-related ailments. 

It is performed with a handheld tool.

A lot of imaging tests require you to sit still inside some sort of machine, or to at least stand next to a certain machine for a while. Ultrasound therapy is not like this. You can lie down on a comfortable treatment table, and your practitioner will use a handheld device to deliver the ultrasound waves to your knee, generating an image on the screen. You may need to move or bend your knee a little at times so that your practitioner can get images from different angles. But if you have to move or adjust yourself to be comfortable during the procedure, you should be able to.

Results will be given to you promptly.

Sometimes, the ultrasound technician will give you an initial interpretation of your results immediately. For instance, they may say "yep, there's a tear in your ACL!" Other times, you may have a consultation with your doctor just after the imagining procedure. But in any case, you can expect to get your results very soon after treatment; there's no long wait for an ultrasound since the images are generated while the test is begin performed.

Ultrasounds can be good for diagnosing knee problems. If you have any additional questions, talk to your ultrasound tech.