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MRI hip findings in asymptomatic professional rugby players, ballet dancers, and age-matched controls

  • T. Blankenstein
    Affiliations
    Musculoskeletal Centre X-Ray Department, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds, UK
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  • A. Grainger
    Affiliations
    Musculoskeletal Centre X-Ray Department, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds, UK

    Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
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  • B. Dube
    Affiliations
    Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
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  • R. Evans
    Affiliations
    Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
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  • P. Robinson
    Correspondence
    Guarantor and correspondent: P. Robinson, Musculoskeletal Centre X-Ray Department, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds LS7 4SA, UK. Tel.: +44 01133924514.
    Affiliations
    Musculoskeletal Centre X-Ray Department, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds, UK

    Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
    Search for articles by this author
Published:September 30, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crad.2019.08.024

      Highlights

      • High rates of labral tears in asymptomatic subjects.
      • No difference in incidence despite different sporting and activity levels.
      • Caution in interpreting labral tear and cartilage change as always being abnormal/symptomatic.

      AIM

      To investigate hip magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in asymptomatic professional male rugby players and male ballet dancers compared to age-matched controls.

      MATERIALS AND METHODS

      After ethics committee approval and consent from participants, 11 professional rugby players, 10 professional ballet dancers, and 10 controls completed activity and symptom questionnaires and underwent 3 T MRI of their self-declared dominant hip. Each scan was independently scored by two musculoskeletal radiologists for multiple features, including: joint morphology, acetabular labrum appearance, cartilage loss, and capsular thickness. Clinical and MRI features were assessed for variance by group using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests and Tukey post-hoc pairwise comparison of means.

      RESULTS

      Labral tear prevalence was 87% with no significant difference between groups (p>0.05). Rates of paralabral cysts were significantly higher in ballet dancers (50%), compared to rugby players (0%) and controls (10%; p=0.01). Acetabular cartilage loss was present in 54% with no significant differences between groups. Superior capsular thickness was significantly greater in ballet dancers (5.3 mm) compared to rugby players (3.8 mm) and controls (3.8 mm; p=0.03).

      CONCLUSION

      Despite the difference in type of activity between groups, there were equally high rates of labral tears and acetabular cartilage loss, questioning the role that sport plays in the development of these findings and their relationship to symptoms. The focally increased superior capsular thickness in ballet dancers may be an adaptive response to extreme ranges of movement.
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