Imaging tests can help pinpoint the source of musculoskeletal pain. Ultrasound has some advantages.
Ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures, is a high-spatial resolution modality that provides greater internal detail of a structure. With the same muscle injury, "we can see the individual fibers of the muscle and early changes of the injury," says Dr. Delzell. Both MRI and ultrasound can detect large tears in tissue. "But microtears and chronic injury are better seen on ultrasound," she says.