Musculoskeletal (MSK) Ultrasound is a specialized exam that uses ultrasound to specifically look at your muscular skeletal system. 

MSK ultrasound technologists have special training in looking at and documenting muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and nerves with ultrasound.  A Radiologist will interpret these images to determine if they are normal or abnormal. This can also allow for a MSK injection, where under Ultrasound guidance the radiologist is able to directly inject joints, tendon sheaths as well as nerve releases in order to reduce inflammation or provide other therapeutic means.


Who can get an MSK Ultrasound?

Anyone can have an MSK Ultrasound. Ultrasounds have no known risks, since they use sound waves, rather than any form of radiation.

Why get an MSK Ultrasound?

An MSK ultrasound may help determine the source of your muscle, tendon, or joint symptoms. For example, if you have a lump that you are concerned about, we will examine if it’s fluid-filled or solid, where it’s located, and if it’s attached to any muscular skeletal structures. If you have a focal area of pain we can determine if there is joint inflammation, tendon inflammation, or tendon injury. Ultrasound can help determine the extent of the injury. Each answer can lead to the appropriate treatment or determine if further investigation is needed.

Some common diagnoses that may be evaluated by an MSK Ultrasound include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Trigger Fingers, Dupuytren’s Contracture
  • Ganglion Cyst
  • Rotator cuff tears (with potential treatment of partial injury tears with plasma enriched platelet injection).
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Plantar Fasciitis

What are the benefits?

Ultrasound can allow the technologist and radiologist to watch your anatomy move in real time, such as examining how tendons move around joints. The patient can show us exactly where they feel their symptoms, so we can pinpoint the area of concern at the time of imaging. This also allows for directed injections (if required) of the offending joint or tendon sheath rather than a generalized “blind” injection site.

MSK Services:

Imaging of upper and lower extremities

Wrists, fingers, ankles and feet

Carpal Tunnel Release – a minimally invasive cutting of the retinaculum under sonographic guidance to release the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by an overuse injury or repetitive motion performed by the wrist or hand. When this part of the body is injured, swelling in the tissues around can cause pressure on the median nerve which causes tingling and numbness in the hand. Over time, this can also lead to pain or loss of function. Normally, you could get surgery to fix this problem, but the recovery could take weeks or months, and you require physical therapy afterwards. Under MSK ultrasound, the release is done in approximately 30 minutes, with about 2 hours of recovery time. No sutures required.

Trigger Finger Release - Trigger finger is a condition that causes pain, stiffness, and a sensation of locking or catching when you bend and straighten your finger(s) or thumb. Trigger Finger Release is a process while under sonographic guidance the fibromas on the tendon sheath are broken up. This process is quick and relatively painless, with a significantly faster recovery rate than surgical intervention.

Treatment of Ganglion Cysts - Ganglion cysts are pockets of fluid occurring most commonly in the hand or wrist. These cysts are usually accompanied by pain, weakness, or a tingly sensation. The aspiration, or drainage of the cysts under ultrasound guidance has shown to be very effective in treating this problem without the need for invasive surgery.

Frozen Shoulder – Adhesive capsulitis (more commonly called “Frozen Shoulder”) is a disorder characterized by pain and loss of motion or stiffness in the shoulder. Under ultrasound guidance, the radiologist is able to inject saline and steroid in order to stretch the capsule to help restore motion. This often times can restore motion to the affected joint within an hour.

Calcific Tendonitis of the Shoulder – Calcium deposits can form on your tendons. This can happen after a tendon injury or overuse of a tendon. When these deposits exist, it causes inflammation and pain. Under ultrasound guidance, the radiologist is able to do a needle lavage or irrigation of the calcium deposit. Once this is done your body can dissolve the rest of the calcium deposit on its own. This is most often seen in the shoulder region.

Hip and Knee joint bursitis injections- Under ultrasound guidance, corticosteroids can be injected directly into the joint bursa to provide directed relief. This relief tends to last much longer than generally directed anti-inflammatory treatments.

Tendinitis steroid injection – Often times when a tendon is overused it can become irritated and inflamed. A corticosteroid injection injected around the affected tendon sheath can ease the pain and reduce inflammation.

Plantar Fasciitis – The most common cause of heel pain. It’s when the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes becomes thickened and painful. Under ultrasound guidance, corticosteroids can be directly injected into the plantar plate for relief.