The differences between and OB-GYN and a Podiatrist are fairly obvious but what is not so obvious is how they are alike. Both medical specialists recognize that Diagnostic Ultrasound is a fast and safe way to get a real time image and information for treatment. Whereas OB-GYNs have been using ultrasound for some time, this tool is becoming best practice in the field of podiatry.
What is Diagnostic Ultrasound?
Diagnostic Ultrasound is a medical technique to view parts of the body by using high frequency sound waves. It produces sound waves by crystals that oscillate at a frequency beyond the range of the human ear. When sound waves penetrate the tissues of the body, part of the sound wave is reflected back causing reflective patterns that are sent to a computer. The patterns are then sent to a screen where they produce an image; and the image can be studied “live” or recorded and printed later.
What is the Procedure like?
Contact is made to the body using a hand-held device called a transducer. The transducer transmits the sound waves and captures the reflective echoes that produce an image. A transmission gel is used to complete contact between the transducer and the skin.
Is the Procedure painful?
There is no pain or discomfort associated with Diagnostic Ultrasound with the possible exception of a cold feeling that may be produced by the gel or the metal head of the transducer. The image is produced by the reflection of sound waves. Unlike an X-ray machine, no radiation is used.
Why is Diagnostic Ultrasound used in Podiatry?
Diagnostic Ultrasound is used because it is considered extremely safe procedure; however, when studying the damage of the foot and ankle, it is a very effective method to determine how to proceed and treat. Thicker tissue such as bones, produce a different image than fluid filled structures such as a cyst. A trained podiatrist can differentiate between what is normal and what is not.
How is Diagnostic Ultrasound used in Podiatry?
Ultrasound has proven to be an effective way to recognize many foot and ankle disorders such as: Morton’s neuroma, Achilles tendonitis, tears and ruptures, fibromas, cysts, ganglions, bone injury, bursitis, ligament tears, heel spurs, plantar facia tears and inflammation, pinching of nerves, abnormal growths, joint swelling, tarsal tunnel syndrome, bone injuries, fractures, stress fractures, ankle sprains and strains. It can also be used to find pieces of glass, wood or metal from puncture wounds which can be a frequent, hard to find reason for foot pain. Diagnostic ultrasound can even find areas of localized infection, show if tissue is being pinched between bones. It is particularly useful to use as a guide for the placement of an injection to ensure that medication is placed precisely where it needs to be for maximum effectiveness and pain relief.
What are the Benefits of Diagnostic Ultrasound?
There are many benefits to use Diagnostic Ultrasound and the risks are minimal making this a wonderful tool for diagnosis and treatment of numerous foot and ankle disorders. Here are some of the benefits:
- Testing is quick and painless
- Results are available immediately and you are able to see the problem when the ultrasound is being performed
- There is no radiation or side effects with this machine as there are with other diagnostic tests
- Ultrasound is much less expensive than MRI, CT scan or bone scans
- Unlike the magnetic field of MRI units, ultrasound is not affected by cardiac pacemakers or implants within the body
- Ultrasound may actually have advantages over MRI in seeing tendon structure, which is better appreciated by ultrasound than MRI at a fraction of the cost, and
- For diagnostic ultrasound there are no known harmful effects on humans
As with all disorders, your podiatrist is the best person to determine when it is appropriate to use Diagnostic Ultrasound and when other methods may be preferred. If you or someone you know suffers from chronic, unexplained foot pain and you want a definitive diagnosis, call Dr. Sigle today at (217) 787-2700 for an appointment.To learn more about this treatment, visit www.myfootandanklecenter.comand view a short video of the procedure.