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Ultrasound imaging

Ultrasound, in the hands of a skilled clinician, can provide a lot of very useful information. It is proven to be useful for assessing soft tissue as well as fractures, and is highly accurate for the assessment of joint inflammation.

Ultrasound uses sound waves that are shot out of a handpiece (transducer) and then will travel through the tissue. As the soundwaves collide with structures of different thicknesses: some soundwaves bounce off of the part that is a different thickness, whilst others will continue through.

It can be hard to understand and 'see' what the images represent if you do not spend a lot of time looking at the images, however ultrasound has been proven to be more accurate than X-ray and MRI as well as being safer for assessing some things. The only issue can be that the ultrasound operator may not know their technical limitations, which is why it is always worth finding out the experience of the operator assessing you... but politely and discretely - after all, they can see which bits are likely to hurt if they press on them!

Health professionals who perform ultrasound do not need to be regulated, however often are. These health professionals are typically either Radiologists (medical doctors specialising in imaging) or Sonographers. Sonographers are typically regulated by their original profession, and so could be a podiatrist (like me), a physiotherapist, radiographer, nurse or any other profession. It is not a requirement to be a health professional to be a sonographer, but what is important is to make sure they are certified. The certification to look for is whether they are "CASE accredited".

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