Sound has many uses besides just for music or speech. Bouncing sound waves has been used for decades to help guide ships and submarines as they navigate the seas—you know it as sonar. Bats use this same technique, this time called echolocation, to find food and avoid obstacles in the dark. Doctors use sounds waves as a safe way to check a baby’s development in the womb without exposing it to harmful radiation. You know this as ultrasound. What you may not have realized, though, is that this medical tool isn’t just for expecting mothers. It’s a fantastic diagnostic test for soft tissue problems throughout the body, including in the lower limbs.
What Is This Test?
Ultrasound diagnostics, also called sonography, are imaging tests that use high-frequency sounds waves to capture real-time pictures of soft tissues in your body. This allows the technician to “see” inside your body and observe your tissues and how they move. Podiatry experts like Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen and our podiatric team use it to diagnose and treat lower limb conditions, particularly those that can’t be seen on X-rays. This allows our staff to accurately diagnose—and then treat—foot conditions that might otherwise be hard to catch.
How Does It Work On Feet?
Sonography works by directing powerful, too-high-to-hear sound waves at your body. These waves bounce back off your tissues at different times and lengths, allowing them to be perceived and translated by a receiver. The receiver sends them through a machine that converts the information from sound waves into a “video” of pictures. The whole test is entirely painless, and there aren’t any side effects to ultrasound. It’s even safer than a traditional x-ray, since it doesn’t involve any ionizing radiation.
For your ultrasound diagnostics, one of our staff members will apply a thin layer of special gel to the area being checked. This helps the sound waves transmit easily through your skin to the soft tissues below. Then the probe that produces the sound waves will be placed directly on your foot. The images will be recorded and used to diagnose your condition. Since this test is able to observe soft tissues and motion, it can “see” and evaluate problems that other tests, like X-rays, would miss. Our team then examines and uses the images to get you the treatment that you need.
How Is It Helpful?
Ultrasound diagnostics are used for a variety of conditions. It can locate and determine the size of a Morton’s neuroma, tumor, or cyst. It can identify bursitis or capsulitis around joints. It’s commonly used to evaluate tendon or ligament injuries, particularly if there might be a tear. In some cases, it can identify the extent of a condition like plantar fasciitis by determining how thick the injured plantar fascia has become.
The ability to accurately diagnose a painful condition is important. It helps experts like our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. form a targeted plan to treat your condition. Don’t ignore foot pain because you’re afraid of what it might be. Contact our Castle Pines, Cherry Creek, or Parker, CO, offices for an appointment or more information about diagnosing and eliminating uncomfortable conditions.