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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Study Spotlight: Hamstring Injuries-Extent of MRI Detected Edema and the Time to Return to Play

By: Joel Luedke


Hamstring injuries are among the most common soft tissue injuries one can suffer during sports.  It can also be one of the most frustrating ones to suffer as well.  There has been a lot of discussion around return to play protocols for hamstring injuries and what they should look like based on the grade of injury.  Often the grading occurs based on MRI and what is seen and the extent of damage incurred.  This study took a look at how the information based on MRI corresponded with return to play.


What They Did:
This was a retrospective study that took at look grade 1 hamstring injuries in 22 professional soccer players.  The MRI technique used was a 1.5 T MRI.  The parameters that were looked at were craniocaudal length, percentage of cross-sectional area, and volume.

What They Found:
The researchers used return to play (RTP) as the outcome measure.  When the statistics were run there was no measures from the MRI that corresponded to the length of the RTP.  Based on these results the researchers found that the extent of MRI edema in hamstring injuries did not have prognostic value.

What It All Means:
While the results show there isn't a correlation between the edema seen on MRI and RTP timeline that doesn't mean we should do away with all MRIs in the evaluation of hamstring injuries.  This information can still be extremely valuable but we shouldn't come to rely on it.  In the world of sports medicine often times more information is good information but we can't get so caught up in it that we don't take into account everything we are seeing in the day to day rehab and treatment process.

Depending on your work setting or training goals this can also be good information in that you don't have to get a MRI in order to have a quick and successful return to play protocol.  There is still a lot of evidence that just seeing how you move through a step by step progression that is gradual you can still have extremely good results when it comes to getting back to full health.

Limitations:
Due to the retrospective nature of this study there RTP protocols and decision making could be substantially different which could hamper the outcome.  Also due to only have 22 people included in the study it it hard to say this is statically significant.  Still interesting none the less.

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