Ultrasound is a fancy name for a modality that creates heat. As the therapist moves the ultrasound head over the injured area heat is created with the emission of ultrasound waves at very high frequency. At the depth of about one inch beneath the skin these waves create heat by friction. The ultrasound head needs to be moved continuosly during the treatment to avoid creating excesive heat. The physical therapist will use ultrasound to work on:

  • Joint arthritis
  • Tendinits
  • Bursitis
  • Tissue pain
  • Acute neck/back pain

The heat created relaxes the tissue and makes it more pliable for stretching work. There is also additional blood infusion into the area, caused by the heat,ultrasound unit bringing nutrients and oxygen, and removing metabolic waste. ultrasound unitAll these cellular activities contribute to healing. There are many companies making ultrasound units, but they generally look like the one in the picture on the left. The picture on the right depicts the use of ultrasound on a foot diagnosed with ankle tendinitis. Ultrasound should not be used more than 12 consecutive applications.