The use of therapeutic ultrasound as an element of physiotherapy practice is well established, but the nature of that practice has changed significantly over the last 20 years. This paper aims to review the rationale and range of applications for which this modality is employed in current practice. Whereas in the past, its primary use was as a thermal modality, it is argued that currently, it is the 'non-thermal' aspects of the intervention that are most commonly employed. The predominant use of therapeutic ultrasound is in relation to tissue repair and soft tissue lesion management, where the evidence would support its application in the inflammatory, proliferative and remodelling phases. The clinical outcomes appear to be dose dependent, and whilst this paper does not detail dose related clinical decision making, the broad issues are considered. The future possibilities for the use of the modality are reviewed, and although outside the immediate remit of this paper, the use of therapeutic ultrasound in fracture management is briefly considered. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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