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Br J Sports Med. 2019 Apr 25. pii: bjsports-2018-100193. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-100193. [Epub ahead of print]

Imaging with ultrasound in physical therapy: What is the PT's scope of practice? A competency-based educational model and training recommendations.

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Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Health and Rehabilitation Research Institute, School of Clinical Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Department of Physiotherapy and Performance Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Departmento de Enfermeria y Fisioterapia, Universidad de Alcala de Henares, Madrid, Spain.
Departamento de Fisioterapia, Universidad Francisco de Victoria, Madrid, Spain.
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.
School of Health Professions and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.


Physical therapists employ ultrasound (US) imaging technology for a broad range of clinical and research purposes. Despite this, few physical therapy regulatory bodies guide the use of US imaging, and there are limited continuing education opportunities for physical therapists to become proficient in using US within their professional scope of practice. Here, we (i) outline the current status of US use by physical therapists; (ii) define and describe four broad categories of physical therapy US applications (ie, rehabilitation, diagnostic, intervention and research US); (iii) discuss how US use relates to the scope of high value physical therapy practice and (iv) propose a broad framework for a competency-based education model for training physical therapists in US. This paper only discusses US imaging-not 'therapeutic' US. Thus, 'imaging' is implicit anywhere the term 'ultrasound' is used.


curriculum; education; professional issues; rehabilitation; sonography

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Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure forms at

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