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Background: The use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings to predict outcome (return to sport) in acute intrinsic quadriceps muscle strain injuries has not been documented.

Research question/s: Which factors on MRI best predict the time to return to sport following acute quadriceps muscle strain injuries in athletes?

Methodology:Subjects: 40 professional Australian Rules football players with 25 clinical quadriceps muscle strain injuries.

Experimental procedure: All the subjects sustained Grade 1 to 2 acute intrinsic quadriceps muscle strain injuries, and MRI examinations were performed within 24–72 hours of injury. All subjects performed a similar rehabilitation programme (4 stages) with a defined end point of return to sport.

Imaging features of muscle strain injury included the anatomical location (rectus femoris or vasti), size (crosssectional area (%) and length), and site (proximal, middle, or distal) and portion of the muscle (central, peripheral).

Measures of outcome: Time from injury to return to full training (rehabilitation interval – RI) in days.

Main finding/s:

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  • Other factors significantly increasing the RI were cross sectional area and length of injury

  • Three players had normal MRI examinations (mean rehabilitation interval  =  5.7 days)


  • The prognosis (rehabilitation days) of acute intrinsic quadriceps muscle strain injuries is significantly worse in injuries involving the central region of the rectus femoris muscle, and if the injury size on MRI, is larger

  • MRI is helpful in predicting the prognosis for acute quadriceps strains

Evidence based rating: 6/10

Clinical interest rating: 8/10

Type of study: Case series

Methodological considerations: Case series with no control groups

Keywords: Quadriceps muscle strain, injury, magnetic resonance imaging, prognosis


Background: The accuracy of ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the detection of full and partial thickness rotator cuff tears has not been well studied.

Research question/s: What is the accuracy of ultrasonography and MRI for the detection …

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