MRI detection of soleus muscle injuries in professional football players
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To describe magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics of soleus muscle injuries in symptomatic professional football players stratified according to both the Munich consensus statement and the British Athletics Muscle Injury Classification (BAMIC), and to investigate the association between specific MRI features and the “return to play” (RTP).
Materials and methods
Professional football players with an episode of acute posterior calf pain and impaired function, subsequent to sports activity, underwent ultrasound followed by MRI examination reviewed by two different radiologists with more than 10 years of experience in the musculoskeletal system. MRI features and RTP outcome were evaluated for all types of injuries.
During a 36-month period, a total of 20 professional football players were evaluated. According to the Munich consensus, 11 were type 3A, 8 were type 3B, and 1 was type 4, whereas according to the BAMIC, 11 lesions were considered grade 1, 4 grade 2, 4 grade 3, and 1 grade 4. RTP data were available for all patients (mean 3.3 ± 1.6 weeks). Both the Munich consensus and the BAMIC correlated with RTP (Spearman correlation = 0.982 and p < 0.0001 and 0.886 and p < 0.0001 respectively). Extension of edema was an independent prognostic factor for RTP in two different models of multivariate regression analysis (p = 0.044 model A; p = 0.031 model B).
The Munich consensus and BAMIC grading systems are useful tools for defining the patient’s prognosis and proper rehabilitation time after injury. The MRI feature that we should carefully look for is the extension of edema, as it seems to significantly affect the RTP.
KeywordsSoleus injuries Professional football players Magnetic resonance Return to play
We would like to thank Dr. Paolo Ferrero for his assistance in statistical analysis.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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