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A COMPARISON BETWEEN CLINICAL ASSESSMENT AND MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING OF ACUTE HAMSTRING INJURIES

Professor Martin P Schwellnus, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used by clinicians to confirm the clinical diagnosis and to plan management of the injury. Little information is available to assess how MRI compares with clinical assessment.

Research question/s: Are MRI findings useful in determining the duration of rehabilitation following acute hamstring strains?

Methodology:Subjects: 58 professional football players with an acute hamstring injury.

Experimental procedure: All subjects underwent a clinical evaluation by an independent physical therapist (<3 days after injury) followed by an MRI. The presence, type and location of injury were recorded in each examination. Time to return to competition was estimated by the physical therapist, and rehabilitation duration was estimated by the radiologist using the length of the injury (coronal view).

Measures of outcome: Relationship between clinical findings and radiological findings.

Main finding/s::


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  • Clinical examination (Clin) and MRI findings were strongly correlated with the actual time required to competition (Clin: r  =  0.69, p<0.001; MRI: r  =  0.58, p<0.001).

  • Significant predictors of recovery time were longitudinal length of the injury (p<0.001), cross-sectional size of the injury (p<0.01), site of injury in biceps femoris …

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