Ultrasound in athletes: emerging techniques in point-of-care practice

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012 Nov-Dec;11(6):298-303. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e318272c89b.


Ultrasound offers sports medicine clinicians the potential to diagnose, treat, and manage a broad spectrum of conditions afflicting athletes. This review article highlights applications of ultrasound that hold promise as point-of-care diagnostics and therapeutic tools that can be used directly by clinicians to direct real-time management of athletes. Point-of-care ultrasound has been examined most in the context of musculoskeletal disorders in athletes, with attention given to Achilles tendinopathy, patellar tendinopathy, hip and thigh pathology, elbow tendinopathy, wrist pathology, and shoulder pain. More research has focused on therapeutic applications than diagnostic, but initial evidence has been generated in both. Preliminary evidence has been published also on abdominal ultrasound for splenic enlargement in mononucleosis, cardiopulmonary processes and hydration status, deep vein thrombosis, and bone mineral density. Further research will be required to validate these applications and to explore further applications of portable ultrasound that can be used in the care of athletes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Sports Medicine / methods*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*