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Br J Sports Med. 2012 Feb;46(2):112-7. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2011-090155. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Hamstring muscle injuries in professional football: the correlation of MRI findings with return to play.

Author information

1
Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linkoping, Sweden. jan.ekstrand@telia.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hamstring injury is the single most common injury in professional football. MRI is commonly used to confirm the diagnosis and provide a prognosis of lay-off time.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the use of MRI as a prognostic tool for lay-off after hamstring injuries in professional football players and to study the association between MRI findings and injury circumstances.

METHODS:

Prospective cohort study where 23 European professional teams, were followed between 2007 and 2011. Team medical staffs recorded individual player exposure and time-loss injuries. Radiological grading was performed using a modified Peetrons classification into four grades where grades 2 and 3 represent fibre disruption.

RESULTS:

In total, 516 hamstring injuries occurred and 58% of these were examined by MRI. Thirteen per cent were grade 0 injuries, 57% grade 1, 27% of grade 2 and 3% of grade 3. Grade 0 and 1 injuries accounted for 56% (2141/3830 days) of the total lay-off. The lay-off time differed between all four radiological grades of injury (8±3, 17±10, 22±11 and 73±60 days, p<0.0001). Eighty-three per cent of injuries affected the biceps femoris while 11% and 5% occurred to the semimembranosus and semitendinosus, respectively. Re-injuries (N=34/207) constituted 16% of injuries. All re-injuries occurred to the biceps femoris.

CONCLUSION:

MRI can be helpful in verifying the diagnosis of a hamstring injury and to prognosticate lay-off time. Radiological grading is associated with lay-off times after injury. Seventy per cent of hamstring injuries seen in professional football are of radiological grade 0 or 1, meaning no signs of fibre disruption on MRI, but still cause the majority of absence days.

PMID:
22144005
DOI:
10.1136/bjsports-2011-090155
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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