Japanese Journal of Radiology

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 319–326 | Cite as

Clinical interpretation of asymptomatic medial collateral ligament injury observed on magnetic resonance imaging in adolescent baseball players

  • Kenta Tanaka
  • Yoshikazu Okamoto
  • Takeshi Makihara
  • Kiyoshi Maehara
  • Tomohiro Yoshizawa
  • Manabu Minami
  • Masashi Yamazaki
Original Article



Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury of the elbow was often observed in asymptomatic adolescent baseball players. We aimed to clarify the clinical interpretation of “asymptomatic MCL injury observed on MRI” by comparing MRI, ultrasonography (US), and physical findings.

Materials and methods

Sixty-four asymptomatic adolescent baseball players (mean 11.2 years) were enrolled. An open-type 0.2T MRI was used. MCL function was evaluated by measuring the opening of the ulnohumeral joint using US. Physical findings included MCL tenderness, the moving valgus test, and the Milking test. The correlation between MRI and US, and MRI and physical findings were analyzed.


Thirty-four subjects (53.1%) showed MCL injury by MRI. The mean laterality of the ulnohumeral joint opening showed no significant difference (P = 0.16) between the group with (0.29 ± 1.06 mm) and without (0.08 ± 0.96 mm) MCL injury on MRI. There was no correlation between MRI and physical findings except for a weak correlation between subjects with positive Milking test and MCL injury on MRI (φ coefficient = 0.3, P = 0.02).


‘Asymptomatic MCL injury on MRI’ had little correlation to ligament dysfunction. It might represent the transition period to MCL thickening called “adaptation.”


Baseball elbow Magnetic resonance imaging Screening Asymptomatic elbow 


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Copyright information

© Japan Radiological Society 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenta Tanaka
    • 1
  • Yoshikazu Okamoto
    • 2
  • Takeshi Makihara
    • 1
  • Kiyoshi Maehara
    • 3
  • Tomohiro Yoshizawa
    • 1
  • Manabu Minami
    • 2
  • Masashi Yamazaki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryFaculty of Medicine University of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyFaculty of Medicine University of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Gradient School of Comprehensive Human SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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