Therapeutic Ultrasound Friend or Foe

19th February 2020 2 min read

By Paul Bailey MSc – PGCE - IPTI

History and use of Ultrasound

Most people are familiar with the diagnostic prenatal ultrasound test, that’s typically offered to pregnant woman around 14 to 20 weeks of their pregnancy. However, most are not aware that the use of ultrasound for therapeutic reasons has been used for some 80 plus years. In fact, in the 1920s there’s evidence of ultrasound being used to treat sporting injury.

Ultrasound Waves

There are many types of ultrasound waves. Typical therapeutic ultrasound produces a vibratory wave of around 1 or 3MHz. The sound wave can be constant or pulsed. Constant sound-waves are used to produce heat and are said to beneficial in relaxing localised tissue, reducing pain and increasing the elasticity of fibrous chronic type tissue.

Example of Conditions Treated with Ultrasound

• Sprains and strains

• Tendonitis

• Joint Inflammation

• Plantar fasciitis

• Bursitis

• Osteoarthritis

• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Key Benefit of Ultrasound Intervention

Ultrasound can be used within 6 hrs post injury. Thus, it is a modality used within the acute phase. This is a phase typically treated with the RICE, PRICE, or MICE method of care. Ultrasound is said to be proinflammatory thus its function is to speed up the beneficial aspects of the wound healing process.


Like other forms of treatment intervention there are certain conditions that are best not treated with ultrasound therapy. For example;

• Local malignancy

• Metal implants

• Infected Areas

• Open wounds

• Nerve or vascular conditions

• Over the abdomen in pregnant woman

• Growth plates of children

Safe Usage

Therapeutic ultrasound is generated through a medical device and as such those who wish to offer such intervention within their clinical practice must receive the appropriate training to do so. Ultrasound applied at a therapeutic level is a relatively safe intervention. That said ultrasound therapy does have the ability to cause tissue damage and further delay tissue healing if the correct treatment settings are not applied.

PAYGT – Clinic

If you have an injury that you feel would benefit from the use of Ultrasound intervention then please contact PAYGT to discuss your condition and to make an appointment to receive treatment.

PAYGT – Accredited Workshops

If you’re a qualified soft tissue therapist and would like to offer ultrasound intervention within your clinical practice and require formal training then please contact PAYGT to enrol on the next therapeutic ultrasound workshop approved by IPTI.

PAYGT offer Personal Trainer Courses in and around Manchester.