Article Text

other Versions

Download PDFPDF
Epidemiology of imaging-detected tendon abnormalities in athletes participating in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics
  1. Mohamed Jarraya1,2,
  2. Michel D Crema1,3,4,
  3. Lars Engebretsen5,6,7,
  4. Oleg M Teytelboym2,
  5. Daichi Hayashi1,8,
  6. Frank W Roemer9,
  7. Abdalla Y Skaf10,
  8. Ali Guermazi1
  1. 1Quantitative Imaging Center, Department of Radiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Department of Radiology, Mercy Catholic Medical Center, Darby, Pennsylvania, USA
  3. 3Department of Radiology, Saint-Antoine Hospital, University Paris VI, Paris, France
  4. 4Department of Sports Medicine, National Institute of Sports (INSEP), Paris, France
  5. 5Medical and Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, Switzerland
  6. 6Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  7. 7Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  8. 8Department of Radiology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York, USA
  9. 9Department of Radiology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany
  10. 10Department of Radiology, HCor Hospital and ALTA Diagnostic Center (DASA group), Sao Paulo, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mohamed Jarraya, Quantitative Imaging Center, Department of Radiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA; mohamedjarraya{at}


Background Tendon abnormalities are prevalent among both elite and non-elite athletes. Cross-sectional imaging modalities are used to confirm and evaluate the severity of such lesions.

Aim To describe the demographics, prevalence, anatomical location and characteristics of tendon abnormalities in athletes who participated in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Methods We recorded all sports injuries reported by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) medical teams and the Organizing Committee medical staff during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Diagnostic imaging was performed through the official IOC clinic within the Olympic Village, using digital ultrasound machines and 3T and 1.5T MR scanners. Image interpretation was performed centrally by board-certified musculoskeletal radiologists with expertise in sports injuries.

Results In total, 11 274 athletes (5089 women (45%), 6185 men (55%)) from 207 NOCs were included. NOC and Rio de Janeiro 2016 medical staff reported 1101 injuries. Central review of radiological images revealed 156 tendon abnormalities in 109 athletes (51.2% male, mean age: 26.8, range 18–39). The supraspinatus tendon was the most commonly involved tendon (31 cases, 19.9%), followed by the Achilles tendon (20 cases, 12.8%) and patellar and infraspinatus tendons (12 cases, 7.7%). Tendon abnormalities were most commonly seen in track and field athletes (54 abnormalities, 34.6%).

Conclusion 156 tendon abnormalities were reported, most commonly in track and field athletes, and involving mainly the shoulder tendons, as well as Achilles and patellar tendons.

  • Olympics
  • tendon
  • injuries
  • MRI
  • ultrasound
View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Competing interests AG is the President of Boston Imaging Core Lab (BICL), and a Consultant to Merck Serono, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, GE Healthcare, OrthoTrophix, Sanofi and TissueGene. FWR and MDC are shareholders of BICL. LE is a consultant to Arthrex and Smith and Nephew.

  • Ethics approval Medical research ethics committee of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority (no. S-07196C).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.