1 – Anatomy; you need to know everything about what you want to scan. Your ultrasound probe is like a cutter… But remember that, when you put it on the patient, you’ll see only what you know. Don’t forget the presence of vessels, nerves, aponeurosis, lymph nodes; anatomy means also topographic, clinical, gross and comparative anatomy…and knowledge of the functional behaviour of joints, muscles, and tendons.
2 – Practice, Practice, Practice. Start with your own body. Thankfully we have two arms, two legs, two hands etc… You can also start your practice with a collegue, using each other like a model; as an alternative ask to your brother/sister/boyfriend to share with you a couple of hours making an ultrasound session. Take care of your device, it’s your best workmate; always clean the probes at the end of your session.
3 – Know Your Limits. Ultrasound imaging is a great modality to study Msk system but is not always the method of choice. Integrated imaging is the right answer; even if you are not a radiologist that doesn’t imply that your are not able to recognize MRI or CT anatomy. If you are a pure sonographer you may need to have a good radiologist as a referent and when it’s possible, ask patients to bring past exams for comparison. Moreover… go to the orthopedic surgery room to see directly all the anatomical structures studied with ultrasound imaging.
4 – Never stop being curious and passionate about your work; persist troughout any possible failure and do it not only for money but also for passion. Remember that you’ll never stop learning… it only changes the perspective from which you see what you already know. Especially in any case of sport injuries; “you should focus on detailed history taking and a full physical examination of the injured athlete before thinking of imaging.” (Ali Guermazi, Frank W. Roemer and Michel D. Crema. “Imaging in Sports-Specific Musculoskeletal Injuries.” Springer International Publishing, Cham.)
5 – Last but not least… provide value to others; think at your ultrasound examination as an important occasion to help your patients.