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Ultrasound Aids Diagnosis of Rare Weight Training Injury

Man Lifting Weights — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

While weight training is generally seen as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, sometimes when a patient overdoes pumping iron it can lead to unusual injuries. In cases like this, ultrasound and other diagnostic imaging tools play a key role in identifying the source of the problem so that physicians and other health care professionals can provide effective treatment.

Case in point: an otherwise healthy 23-year-old male patient showed up to an emergency room with severe pain and swelling in his shoulder, according to a case report in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Annals of Emergency Medicine, a recent news article reported. The young man said that the weights he’d lifted the day before were heavier than usual, which would seem to indicate a more standard overuse injury, but doctors noted that the man’s level of pain was significantly greater than that which would result from normal weight training injuries.

What Was the Diagnosis?

A bedside ultrasound helped reveal that the young man had compartment syndrome of the shoulder, a painful condition in which pressure builds up within the muscles. The location of the condition was highly unusual considering compartment syndrome is found much more frequently in patients’ lower extremities and is not typically associated with exercise, according to Leonard Bunting, a doctor quoted in the article.

Bunting indicated in the article that ultrasound technology is an important means of evaluating musculoskeletal conditions that are out of the ordinary and that in this case, the ultrasound confirmed that the patient was experiencing muscle edema. After undergoing surgery and six days of inpatient treatment, the young man was relieved of his pain and regained a full range of motion in his shoulder.

How Does Ultrasound Work?

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of the human body.  When performing an ultrasound, trained professionals apply a gel to the patient’s skin so that the sound waves can be transmitted more effectively from a transducer into the body.

Seattle Diagnostic Imaging Services

Via Radiology provides Seattle radiology and diagnostic imaging procedures including mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and CT scan exams. Looking for more information? Contact us online or call 206-306-1011.