The theory behind ultrasound for treating knee osteoartritis is that it is used as a passive modality; a supplement to the primary treatment (e.g. exercise).Passive modalities are typically used to relax the patient as a distraction from pain, and/or to warm muscles for exercise. Ultrasound equipment generates high frequency sound waves that are transferred to a specific body area via a round sound head.The sound waves travel deep into tissue (e.g. muscles) creating gentle heat.
The clinician usually applies a hypo-allergic gel to the skin, which creates a friction free surface. Using gentle, circular motions with the sound head, the treatment is administered and generally lasts seven to ten minutes.Ultrasound can also be used in phonophoresis.This treatment involves the application of a topical anti-inflammatory that is usually mixed with the ultrasound gel and applied to the area using the probe.The ultrasonic sound waves force the medication to migrate into the tissues reducing inflammation. As the sound head glides over the skin’s surface, sound waves penetrate the skin’s surface causing soft tissues to vibrate creating deep heat.In turn, the heat induces vasodilation, which is the drawing of blood into the target tissues.Increased blood flow delivers needed oxygen and nutrients to the muscle, and removes cell wastes from the muscles. The deep heat helps to relieve pain, inflammation, reduces muscle spasms, accelerates healing, and in some cases, depending on the treatment area, range of motion may be increased.
Arthritis of the knee is most often referred to as osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease where cartilage in the joint gradually wears away.In rheumatoid arthritis, which
can also affect the knee, the joint becomes inflamed and the cartilage is destroyed.Arthritis is particularly devastating because it not only affects joints, but it may also affect supporting structures such as muscles, tendons, a…

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