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More MRI Findings in Asymptomatic Athletes


one rigby player trying to tackle another rugby player with the ball during a game

Another study that shows MRI findings don't explain pain.


The aim of this study was to identify differences in the prevalence of labral tears, articular cartilage lesions, and other MRI hip findings in matched asymptomatic male subjects undertaking contrasting types of athletic activity. The study evaluated the hip findings in three groups, comparing professional rugby league players with ballet dancers and age- and sex-matched controls. Thirty-one volunteers comprising 11 professional male rugby league players, 10 professional male ballet dancers, and 10 male age-matched controls were recruited for inclusion.

Overall, the present study found high rates of both acetabular labral tears and acetabular cartilage lesions but no significant difference between professional athletes, undertaking two contrasting types of activity, and the control group. The median UCLA Activity Scale, Modified Harris Hip Score, and the majority of Hip disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (HOOS) scores were equal across all three groups.


Despite the assumed differences in the activity levels between the athletes and the control group, the rates of labral damage and acetabular cartilage loss were not significantly different, challenging the theory of a direct relationship between the volume of physical activity and the development of labral changes.


While this is a small study, it builds off of the other data supporting the limited value of MRIs for understanding musculoskeletal pain.

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