Ultrasound treatment for pain?


I have numerous causes of pain including very severe endometriosis and adhesions.

However, a new problem has sprung up with my feet and to a lesser extent my hands. My GP was a little disinterested. I think he thinks that in the context of my other problems, pain in my feet and hands is low on the list of priorities. He suggested osteoarthritis (tested for Rheumatoid Arthritis - test was clear) and basically sent me away to get on with it. However, I've seen a physio for a few private sessions (too expensive to carry on indefinitely!) and he thinks that it's nothing to do with arthritis and that the problem is to do with my tendons.

I've tried ice packs. exercises and massage for a couple of months and it's getting worse. Both achilles tendons are swollen, both ankles very painful and the sole of my left foot feels like it has knives shoved in it.

On my final session the physio tried using an ultrasound machine. I was pretty skeptical. However, coincidentally the achilles tendon that he used it on did seem to feel a little better the following morning - though it's worse again now. I'm just wondering whether there is anything in ultrasound treatment or whether my tendon just happened to feel better - which can also happen occasionally. I'm wondering whether to try buying a machine. If they do actually work on tendons then it would end up being cheaper than continuing the physio sessions - but equally it could be a complete waste of money.

I'm already on a collection of very heavy painkillers for my other issues and this new problem feels like it's the straw to break the camel's back.

Any experience of ultrasounds out there?

15 Replies

  • Hello

    I have heard that some relief can be given although I have not had that sort of treatment. The Achilles Tendon is a complicated area to treat and it may flare and calm given time.

    Personally I suffer PSA and that affects the tendon sheifs and restricts movement and produces pain. With RA a positive diagnosis may to given as negative bloods can also show up. Personally I do on occasions use a TENS, you could ask the GP for training and that may help, as you could use that as an EMF and used it to tone the affected area.

    With regards the toe, sometimes the pain may be to the side of the toe, although it is common for pain to be felt on the sole of the toe.

    When showering try a shower head on a intense setting on the affected area, either hot or cold, sometimes the directed water can cool the joint. It is also important if you use ice, do not let the ice be in direct contact with the skin as it will burn the skin

    For small areas there is a pain pen, they can also be purchased and training can also be given for their use.

    Remember none of the advice above is from a GP as I am not one. Your GP is in partnership with you when it comes to your health, the treatments above are an aid to treatments and be taken as that


  • Thanks BOB

    I do already have a TENS that I use sometimes on my torso and upper legs for endo pain. I did try it on my feet but perhaps I need to experiment more with the settings.

    Interesting about negative bloods. I may leave it a little longer then request a new blood test re RA. My hands and wrists are less affected than my feet but I know that RA does often cause issues for both extremities. My GP, as I mentioned, is not particularly interested - though he's usually pretty good about my endo pain. Feet obviously aren't interesting enough ;-)


  • Circulation to the extremities is a common problem. The old saying cold hands warm heart comes to mind


  • I would proceed with caution re ultra sound.

    Although there Is no evidence to support this. I am convinced that its the thing that threw he switch from acute to chronic pain for me.

    the powers that be say coincidence?

    We are all wired differently I say.

  • Thanks Nedd

    I'll have to do some more research. Have you come across anyone else who has had a similar experience to you re acute - chronic?


  • Hello Didymus, well you seem to have similar issues to myself. I tried all the things you have mentioned. Private Acupuncture as well. I now have gone back to exercises and foot inserts to strengthen the muscles round the tendon. But was advised privately that lasar treatment is known to be the best known treatment for most. Not sure if ultrasound is the same thing as I am not that medically savvy. I have had arthritis now for 24 yrs and take stronger painkillers but it does need other actions not just a doctors shrug and get on with it I agree. Hope tjhis info helps you if only to think what might be a solution for you. Good luck

  • Thanks for your reply Katie. I'll have to check into lazer treatment. I'm guessing it's not the same as ultrasound but ...

    Hope you get some relief from the inserts and exercises.


  • It is a known fact that people who suffer with many different pain sources are very sensitive to any new pain. That comes from research and documented evidence, it is very unhelpful for your Dr to dismiss it because you have other problems! I would be tempted to download some evidence to that fact and send it too him anonymously I'm sorry I can't offer you any advice on your other problem, but people suffering because there Dr's will not do anything makes me very ANGRY. .

  • Hi

    I think is response is probably more down to his perception of everyone's (i.e. not just me) expectations re management for osteoarthritis than anything else - even though I'm doubting now that that's what I actually have. I think he's of the opinion that it's just what happens as you age so people need to grin and bear it. I'm 48 - so not quite in my dotage yet ;-). The physio said that it's his experience that GPs tend to plump for osteoarthritis when they don't know - and perhaps can't be bothered to work out a diagnosis. He's retiring soon so I may give someone else in the practise a go.

  • Have you had an xray or MRI so that I diagnosis can be made ? My osteoarthris shows very clearly so everyone knows where the problems lie.

  • No I haven't as yet. If I go and see a different GP I might try pushing for that.

  • Hello didymus

    Was looking in one f the disability leaflets Mobility matters. CHUMS.

    They are showing an ultrasonic massager, with a free jell tube. The unit is about the size as a medium telephone handset and it recommends a 15min use. The unit is also mains and costs £69.99 o it is 7 inches long

    If you are registered disabled you may be able to get the VAT back

    Good Luck


  • Cheers for that BOB - I'll take a look.


  • Hi Didymus,

    Have you had a blood test for gout, I had a similar problem and my gp took one look and said that's what it was, and told me to have a blood test after the flair up had gone down. The blood test confirmed gout in my case.

    Are you being seen by your local pain clinic? You will find they have a long waiting list but they have different prescribing parameters than gp's and in my case my gp won't prescribe anything that the pain clinic hasn't okayed first.

    If I was you I'd be seeing a different gp and getting them to refer you to a pain clinic, I do know that diclofenic is on the not to prescribe list like cefalexin as NICE think the side effects outweigh the advantages. My missus used to be on diclo but was swapped to naproxen without any problem, have a good chat with your gp and maybe take to them some of the points other people have given you from on here.

    As my gp once said, when it comes to specific specialised care like chronic pain all they can do is the referral and 9/10 times you will know more about your condition than they ever can. So don't be surprised if a vacant expression comes across their face when you go into the fine detail.

    All the best and I hope you get as pain free as possible


  • Hi

    Thanks for your reply. No, I haven't had a blood test for gout. I mentioned that to the gp as a possible long shot but he said no. To be fair, I do think it's more do do with tendons. My Dad had gout in his hands later on in life. I don't know what the symptoms look like in every case but I don't appear to have any of the visible gout symptoms that he had. Still, it's worth bearing in mind.

    I think I am going to ask for a referral to the pain clinic. I went for several sessions there a few years ago due to my other problems. Unfortunately, they cancelled services there for quite a while (cut backs!!!!) but I believe the clinic is now running again albeit at a reduced level.

    I am on a daily mix of 4 different prescribed heavy painkillers already because of my severe endo. Pretty strong stuff tbh. The pain clinic agreed this combo years back. However, it might be worth them reviewing things to see if they can tweak things. I have tried lots of different things in the past and this combination has generally been the best in terms of effect and tolerance. However, despite their strength, they don't appear to be helping my feet. Maybe they give up that far down my body ;-).

    I know what you mean about self knowledge when it comes to chronic pain. It's a pity that someone hasn't invented a machine that can temporarily transfer pain to medics so that, for 5 mins at least, they understand exactly what their patient is trying to tell them.

    Thanks again.


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