With ultrasound imaging, you may not hear the pong…pong that permeated the movie The Hunt for Red October, but the concept is similar. The captains of the submarines used sonar to bounce sound waves around the ocean, hunting for other subs or ships to put them out of action. We send sound waves into your feet and ankles, hunting for growths or damaged tissues, so we can accurately diagnose your foot pain and recommend the best treatment to get you back in action.
How Sound Can See
Ultrasonography uses a handheld device called a transducer that is attached to a main console and video display. The transducer delivers high frequency sound waves to your body, which you cannot hear, and also reads the echoes that come back as the waves encounter various muscles, bones, and other tissues. The computer measures the tiny differences in the waves and translates them into a picture on the screen. Just as a bat can use sound to determine the size and location of prey, ultrasound imaging can capture still photos of irregularities within your feet and ankles.
What to Expect during Ultrasound Imaging
For the best results, you should bathe before the test but not apply lotion to your skin. Wear loose-fitting clothing that can be moved aside as needed. You will either sit or lie down on the examination table and a gel will be applied to the area to be observed. The transducer is then pressed firmly against your skin and moved gently back and forth over the area. Usually, the procedure is painless (unless the area is very tender and sore) and requires no anesthetic or sedative. We can view the pictures in real time on the screen, although we may also take several still shots of screen images for later review.
The testing is usually finished within a half hour, but at times it may take longer to obtain the clear images we need. You may be asked to make certain movements so that we can observe the function of your muscles, tendons, and bones. Once it is finished, the gel is wiped off. We can normally discuss the results of the tests with you immediately, although they may also be passed on to other medical professionals for further review. You should be able to resume activity within a couple of hours.
What Ultrasonography Is Used For
The procedure does not work that well for imaging your bones, but is very useful for soft tissue diagnosis. It can detect abnormalities such as growths or tumors; tears or thickening in muscles or tendons; blood or fluids that collect within your joints, bursae, or muscles; and early evidence of rheumatoid arthritis. We often use it to diagnose conditions like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, bursitis or capsulitis, Morton’s neuroma, or soft-tissue injuries.
Since there is no radiation, as with CT scans or X-rays, we can use ultrasound imaging even with people who have pacemakers, take certain medications, or are pregnant. Ultrasound can also be used in conjunction with other procedures, such as guiding a needle biopsy or aspiration.
If you have foot pain, call Dr. Hal Abrahamson, Dr. Daniel E. Orozco, Dr. Elvis Rosero, and Dr. Babak Nouri for an evaluation. We can use ultrasonography if needed to determine the cause of your pain and recommend the best treatment for it. Our team of podiatrists has over 100 years of foot care know-how, enhanced by the latest technology to treat any condition. Call us today in Rego Park, NY, at (718) 896-4433 or at our Plainview and Flushing offices. If you’re pressed for time, request an appointment online from the comfort of your home!