Diagnostic Ultrasound

When you think of the word “ultrasound,” like many, your mind might automatically think of imaging tests used during pregnancy. However, ultrasound examinations can be used in a variety of different situations to examine various parts of your body, including your feet and ankles.

If you have been experiencing pain in your feet or ankles, schedule an appointment with Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center in Greater Columbus today! We use the latest, cutting-edge techniques in ultrasound technology and diagnostic services to help identify any soft tissue complications.  

Do I Need an Ultrasound?

To find out whether or not a diagnostic ultrasound would be useful to diagnose your foot and ankle condition, it is best to book an exam with a doctor. Our orthopedic doctors can help in deciding which diagnostic method is right for you.

What Our Patients Say

“I had pain in the heel of my foot. It has not gone away. I scheduled a visit with Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center. After an examination, the doctor said that I had an inflamed ligament on the bottom of the foot, very common. Usually not serious. He gave me stretching exercises and after three days, it feels better.” — Jim G.

What Is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound, also called sonography or ultrasonography, is a non-invasive imaging test that shows structures inside your body by means of high-frequency sound waves. An ultrasound image captures real-time pictures or video of internal organs or other delicate tissues, such as your blood vessels.

Ultrasound allows healthcare specialists to observe the intricate details of internal soft tissues without any cuts or incisions.

In general, there are various types of ultrasounds, including:

A patient getting a diagnostic ultrasound in Columbus, Ohio.

What Is the Purpose of Ultrasound Imaging?

The purpose of diagnostic ultrasound imaging is to assist providers to view internal parts of your body to:

Ultrasounds can also be used to guide a surgeon with real-time imaging during a minimally invasive procedure.

Imaging modalities, such as ultrasound, can also specifically be used to identify issues with the soft tissues and bones within your foot and ankle. These issues can include:

Is Ultrasound Imaging Safe?

Yes, having an ultrasound is safe. In particular, it is very useful for women of childbearing age because, in contrast with other imaging methods, there is no exposure to radiation. Ultrasound does not cause discomfort or pain for the patient. 

How Can I Prepare For an Ultrasound?

Most ultrasound imaging exams do not require any preparation. If you do need to make special preparations, your doctor will let you know in advance. 

How Is an Ultrasound Performed?

Diagnostic ultrasounds that involve applying the transducer (probe) over your skin are generally performed by the following steps:

  1. You will be asked to lie down on your side or back.
  2. Your ultrasound technician or physician/surgeon will then apply a thin layer of gel to your skin to prevent the ultrasound waves from being blocked by air.
  3. The technician will move a handheld device (called a transducer or ultrasound probe) directly over the area of your body where the gel was applied to get images inside your body. This gel enables the waves to be clearly transmitted from the transducer into your body.
  4. Utilizing sound waves, these signals bounce off the structures inside your body and travel back to the probe. The electrical signal pattern is then transformed into vivid images or videos displayed on a computer screen, creating an immediate snapshot of what’s happening within you.
  5. Once your technician has an adequate number of images, they will wipe off any of the remaining gel on your skin, and your test will be finished.

Ultrasound Imaging Results and Follow-up

Once your ultrasound test is complete, your results will be analyzed and interpreted. Your doctor will then share the results with you. Many times the results are given in real time. 

After discussing the findings of your ultrasound with you, your doctor will then create a treatment plan to address the problem and help relieve your pain.

Benefits of Ultrasound Imaging

Your physician at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center may use ultrasound for diagnosis as well as guided injections. These injections could be of local anesthetic to help isolate the problem or corticosteroid to relieve symptoms or treat a condition. 

In some instances, ultrasound imaging can be more useful than other diagnostic tools, such as a CT or MRI. The reason is the dynamic evaluation of your foot & ankle, meaning your physician can move the foot & ankle or have you move and visualize the problem you’re experiencing that might not show in a static imaging tool where the foot and ankle are held in a fixed position. For this reason, your physician may prefer ultrasound imaging to other options. 

Your physician may also refer you to a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician or Group for further ultrasound imaging tests and evaluation. This can be a valuable resource for patients for diagnosis and additional opinions while being much more affordable than a CT or MRI scan. 

Ultrasound Imaging at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet or ankles, schedule an appointment at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center. We have used ultrasounds to identify and diagnose several foot and ankle conditions.

Having an ultrasound exam can be the first step you take on your road to recovery. Let us help you get back on your feet. Contact one of our offices in the Columbus, OH area today!

Medically reviewed by Randall Thomas, DPM FACFAS

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