Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Examination (MSKUS)

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Examination (MSKUS)

When a patient visits their medical professional for joint or muscle pain, it is not always possible to easily pinpoint where the pain is originating from. Is there pain in the arm that can also be felt in the shoulder? Is there soreness in the ankle, but the knee is also acting up?

That’s where MSKUS exams come in. MSKUS stands for Musculoskeletal Ultrasound. This diagnostic can save you time and money because it allows your medical professional (and you) to identify what the problem is and where exactly the pain is originating from.

musculoskeletal ultrasound

What is an MSKUS Test ?

An MSKUS is an ultrasound test used as a diagnostic to identify sources of pain in the body and allows your doctor to evaluate how the pain is originating. The test uses sonic waves to look inside your body and visualize what is happening while movement occurs. There is no exposure to radiation for this test.

The test looks at structural components of the body: muscles, bones, joints, and the connective tissues surrounding those components. The exam consists of several tests that can either all be done or be done in part. The doctor performing the exam will determine which (if not all) of the tests should be performed.

Types of MSKUS Examinations

  • Screening exam: a short assessment of the overall structure and function of that area.
  • Focused exam: a more specific examination of a particular joint or area of complaint.

What can I expect during MSKUS exams ?

Your doctor will first examine the area for any visible physical issues, such as redness or other abnormalities. Once this has been done, the doctor may physically touch or add pressure to the location to see if there is any sensitivity.

The doctor will then test that area’s Range of Motion (sometimes called ROM). This could include a multitude of different little tests your doctor may perform, such as asking you to move the area, testing reflexes, or determining the strength of the joint. An example of one of these mini strength tests is squeezing a ball with your hand.

Your doctor will then use the ultrasound equipment to examine the area inside your body and may again physically maneuver or touch the area while looking inside to see how the structure moves when those actions are taken.

There is no expected pain from this exam beyond the possible discomfort of moving an area that is already sore. None of the equipment used causes any discomfort or pain.


What does MSK ultrasound diagnose ?

MSKUS is predominantly used to help diagnose a range of injuries and chronic conditions, including tendonitis, bursitis, rotator cuff tears, arthritis, inflammation/swelling, joint problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and masses, such as tumors or cysts.

These tests can help doctors catch these conditions earlier so treatment and management of the conditions can begin, helping you manage the condition early on.

MSKUS are relatively new examinations thanks to advancements in ultrasound technology that allow doctors to use ultrasound for more sensitive and accurate examinations.

A MSK Ultrasound Examination can be used to evaluate:

  • Shoulder pain
    • For individuals grappling with shoulder pain, this test becomes an invaluable tool. By examining the intricate structures within the shoulder joint, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments, the test aids in identifying the root cause of discomfort.
  • Knee pain
    • Knee pain can be a result of diverse issues, ranging from ligament injuries to inflammation. The exam allows for a detailed assessment of the knee joint, assisting healthcare professionals in determining the precise factors contributing to the pain.
  • Elbow pain
    • Whether it’s tennis elbow or other sources of elbow pain, MSKUS plays a crucial role in pinpointing the affected areas. Through real-time imaging, the examination helps in visualizing tendons and identifying any abnormalities contributing to discomfort.
  • Wrist pain
    • Individuals experiencing wrist pain can benefit from the targeted nature of the exam. By focusing on the wrist’s intricate structures, including bones and soft tissues, the examination aids in diagnosing conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendon issues.
  • Foot pain
    • Foot pain can arise from a variety of factors, including issues with the joints, ligaments, or tendons. The test offers a detailed look at the foot’s anatomy, assisting your physical therapist in uncovering the specific causes behind the pain and discomfort.

MSKUS at Panetta Physical Therapy

For the past seven years, the dedicated therapists at Panetta Physical Therapy have been committed to delivering exceptional Musculoskeletal Ultrasound services in Long Island. With strategically located clinics in Bay Shore, Ronkonkoma, and Roslyn, NY, our accessibility extends to clients throughout Long Island and New York City.

Our comprehensive range of services encompasses both the Screening MSKUS exam and the Focused exam. Whether you require a thorough diagnostic assessment or a targeted examination, our experienced team is here to provide personalized and effective solutions for your needs.