Background High level volleyball players are at great risk of suffering rotator cuff and patellar tendinopathy. The symptoms are often serious resulting in long standing impairment of athletic performance.
Objective The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of rotator cuff and patellar tendinopathy in volleyball elite players and correlate clinical examination with the changes observed with ultrasonography and power doppler (US+PD).
Setting, participants and methods 20 Portuguese volleyball players from the senior national team, with mean age of 24.29 years and 11.14 years of average sports volleyball, were evaluated clinically and by US+PD.
Results 80 evaluations were performed: 40 rotator cuff and 40 patellar tendons were assessed. Rotator cuff tendinopathy was diagnosed clinically in seven shoulders (17.50%), all in the dominant member. Eight rotator cuff tendons (20.00%) had structural changes and vascularity on US+PD. All the players with Jobe test painful had structural and vascularity changes on US+PD. Patellar tendinopathy was diagnosed clinically in 12 patellar tendons (30.00%), 6 on the dominant member. 20 tendons (50.00%) had structural changes and vascularity on US+PD. Only one player with patellar tendon palpation painful didn't have structural and vascularity changes on US+PD. According to the player position the opposites were the most affected players.
Conclusions This research revealed that shoulder and knee are two frequent regions affected by overuses injuries in volleyball elite players. US+PD have good accuracy (with high sensibility) in confirming clinically diagnosed rotator cuff and patellar tendinopathy. The results reported in this study suggest that Jobe test and the palpation of patellar tendon are reliable tests in detecting rotator cuff and patellar tendinopathy.
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