Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

The How Clinic

Medical Clinic & Bioidentical Hormone Specialist located in Encinitas, CA

When you suffer an injury or develop a degenerative condition affecting your joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, or nerves, chances are you need a musculoskeletal ultrasound. John How, MD, at The How Clinic in Encinitas, California, offers musculoskeletal ultrasounds, producing exceptional images that reveal the smallest signs of a problem and guide injectable treatments. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature.

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

What is musculoskeletal ultrasound?

Musculoskeletal ultrasound refers to using ultrasound to diagnose problems with your muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, nerves, and bones. 

During an ultrasound, a device called a transducer sends sound waves into your body. The waves bounce off tissues and return to the transducer, much like an echo. The transducer sends the information to a computer, which turns them into detailed, real-time images.

What conditions can musculoskeletal ultrasound diagnose?

The high-resolution images from an ultrasound allow The How Clinic practitioners to quickly diagnose nearly any musculoskeletal condition or injury, including sprains, strains, and tendon and ligament tears. 

Diagnostic ultrasound is great for athletes who need a prompt treatment that targets the problem, promotes optimal healing, and gets them back into the game as quickly as possible.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound allows your provider to identify the earliest signs of arthritis and to diagnose other causes of joint pain and inflammation. The How Clinic also uses ultrasound to diagnose nerve entrapment or pinched nerves. 

What symptoms indicate I may need a musculoskeletal ultrasound?

Most musculoskeletal injuries cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Limited movement
  • Inability to use the affected body part

An entrapped nerve causes pain, tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness, and eventually restricts movement.

What treatments use musculoskeletal ultrasound?

Ultrasound’s ability to produce real-time imaging makes it an essential tool for musculoskeletal injections. Using ultrasound guidance, your provider can see the needle as it’s inserted and ensure your treatment is injected at the specific site of injured tissues.

At The How Clinic, you may receive ultrasound-guided injections of orthobiologics such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The practitioners also use ultrasound to administer prolotherapy injections, a treatment that triggers healing, and to treat pinched nerves with nerve hydrodissection.

PRP injections

When your provider injects PRP using ultrasound-guidance near damaged tissues, it releases proteins called growth factors. Then the growth factors:

  • Activate the healing response
  • Regulate inflammation
  • Recruit stem cells to the area
  • Stimulate new blood vessel growth
  • Trigger healing activities in the surrounding cells

Working together, the platelets and stem cells regenerate the new cells used to repair damaged tissues.


Nerve entrapment, or a pinched nerve, occurs when ongoing pressure is placed on the nerve, often from inflamed soft tissues near the nerve. Over time, scar tissue develops that limits normal movement of the tissues, a problem that hydrodissection treats.

During hydrodissection, your provider performs an ultrasound-guided injection, guiding the needle to the pinched nerve and then injecting an anesthetic or saline (salt) solution. The solution separates the nerve from the surrounding tissues, allowing the structures to glide normally. 

When you suffer from pain, swelling, or limited movement, call The How Clinic or schedule an appointment online to explore how a musculoskeletal ultrasound may help find the cause.