Assessment of Muscle Volume Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in Football Players after Hamstring Injuries.

TitelAssessment of Muscle Volume Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in Football Players after Hamstring Injuries.
MedientypJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AutorenMühlenfeld N, Steendahl IB, Berthold DP, Meyer T, Hauser T, Wagner N, Sander AL, Marzi I, Kaltenbach B, Yel I, Vogl T, Eichler K
JournalEur J Sport Sci
Date Published06/2021

Muscle injuries of the hamstrings are among the most frequent in football and a main cause for significant time away from training and competition. The purpose of this study was to prospectively evaluate the loss of muscle volume in recreational football players three and six weeks after initial trauma. We hypothesized that significant muscle volume loss occurs within 6 weeks after the initial injury event. Twenty recreational football players (mean-age=25 ± 4years; mean-height=181 ± 8cm; mean-weight=81 ± 10kg) with type3a (minor partial muscle tear) and type3b (moderate partial muscle tear) injuries were included. Muscle volume was determined using established methods for the hamstrings and the quadriceps femoris muscle within 3 days and after 3 and 6 weeks following the initial injury. The injured hamstrings lost 6.5% (mean=64 cm3(95%CI=31-98 cm3), p<0.001), the healthy hamstrings lost 2.1% (mean=21 cm3(3-44 cm3),p=0.096) of muscle volume after six weeks. The quadriceps in the injured leg lost 3.8% (mean=78 cm3(51-104 cm3), p<0.001) and 4.5% (83 cm3 (45-121 cm3), p<0.001) in the healthy leg. Muscle volume loss inversely correlated with activity levels in the healthy leg for the quadriceps (r=0.96 (0.90-0.98); R2=0.92; p<0.001) and the hamstrings (r=0.72 (0.40-0.88); R2=0.51; p<0.001), as well as the quadriceps in the injured leg (r=0.70 (0.37-0.87); R2=0.49; p<0.001), but not the injured hamstrings. Muscle volume ratio of hamstrings to quadriceps in the control limb was 0.52 ± 0.06 and 0.53 ± 0.06 in the injured leg. The rehabilitation period of six weeks did not have a relevant negative or a positive effect on ratios. Significant muscle volume loss in the upper thigh occurs in recreational soccer players within three, and within six weeks after a hamstring injury and lies between 2% and 7%.Highlights This study found that significant muscle volume loss occurs within six weeks after sustaining hamstring muscle group injuries.Additionally, most of the non-professional football players in the present study demonstrated low hamstring-to-quadriceps volume ratios in both the injured, as well as the heathy leg. Low hamstring-to-quadriceps volume ratios may provide an opportunity to focus on muscle hypertrophy strategies to help reduce the risk for muscle imbalances and thus future injury.After three weeks of resting, reduced training activity, compared to the training activity before the injury, seems to be sufficient to preserve 99% of the remaining muscle volume in the quadriceps and as well as the healthy hamstrings. The number of training-minutes correlates statistically significant inversely with the muscle volume lost in a rehabilitation period.

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