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X-rays And Ultrasound For Athletes

May 12, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Musculoskeletal Radiology
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Athletes and those who treat them got some ideas from a couple of sports medicine-related studies presented at the recent American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) annual meeting:

  • Steroid injections guided by X-rays offer a safe, effective treatment for hamstring tendonitis, according to a study performed at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Hamstring tendonitis involves inflammation in one or more hamstring tendons. It often afflicts dancers and athletes, especially track and field athletes. Conventional treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy. However, dancers and athletes tend to get impatient about that “rest” part. In the study, 16 patients with hamstring tendonitis received X-ray–guided cortisone injections. Eleven showed major improvement, said Manickam Kumaravel, MD, lead author of the study. The other five, he said, showed minimal to moderate improvement. Dr. Kumaravel added:

No immediate or long-term complications were found in any of the patients or injection sites. Our study suggests that X-ray–guided steroid injections are safe and beneficial for the treatment of hamstring tendonitis in athletes.

  • Ultrasound can diagnose muscle damage in athletes right on the spot during a game, helping to determine whether a player has to be kept off the field, according to a study of professional soccer players. In Muscat, Oman, 50 male soccer players with pain in the thigh or calf received ultrasound imaging on-site during a game. The scans revealed that 46 of the players had either a complete or a partial muscle tear, so they were removed from the competition. That disappointed the players, no doubt, but it also kept them from injuring themselves more severely. “Muscular trauma is very common in athletes, especially soccer players,” said lead author Ashok Kumar Nath, MD, of the department of radiology at Khoula Hospital in Muscat. “Ultrasound is a readily available, radiation-free imaging modality that allows us to diagnose muscle tears on-site.”

Related seminar: Sports Medicine Imaging

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