Studies reveal characteristics of bone and tendon injuries incurred by Olympic athletes

October 30, 2017, Boston University School of Medicine

Female athletes participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro were more likely to experience bone stress injuries in their lower extremities while competing in track and field compared to other events. In addition, tendon abnormalities similarly were most common in track and field athletes, however they most frequently involved the shoulder, Achilles and patellar tendons.

These findings, which are published in two separate studies in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, are the first to report epidemiological data on bone stress injuries and tendon abnormalities detected at the Olympic Games. They were conducted in collaboration with researchers from New York, Pennsylvania, Switzerland, Norway, France, Germany and Brazil.

"Bone stress and tendon abnormalities are common sports injuries that pose a major concern for professional athletes as they can jeopardize the athletes' abilities to train and compete," said co-author Mohamed Jarraya, MD, research fellow in musculoskeletal radiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).

Bone stress abnormalities range in severity from mild stress reactions to overt stress fractures for bone injuries and from mild inflammation to complete tear for tendon injuries. Bone vascularity, training regimen and equipment are known to predispose athletes to bone .

The researchers studied a total of 25 bone stress injuries and 156 tendon abnormalities that were reported during the 2016 Summer Olympics from a total population of more than 11,000 Olympians representing more than 200 countries. All injured athletes underwent imaging at the official International Olympic Committee clinic in the Olympic Village, and the images were reviewed independently by two board-certified musculoskeletal radiologists with expertise in sports injuries.

"We found that bone stress injuries occurred more commonly in women, in the lower extremities, and were detected at highest incidence in track and field athletes as compared to other disciplines," said co-author Daichi Hayashi, MD, PhD, research assistant professor of radiology at BUSM.

"Based on the results of our studies, we believe that it is important to improve early detection of reactions before it progresses to fracture by performing early MRI imaging, especially in symptomatic athletes patients who may have normal X-Rays", explained corresponding author Ali Guermazi, MD, PhD, professor of radiology and medicine at BUSM and a radiologist at Boston Medical Center. "In terms of , the possibility of precompetition imaging screening data would be helpful for the detection of chronic lesions and possibly preventive measure," said Guermazi who was an expert radiologist for the International Olympic Committee at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

The researchers believe future studies to further the understanding of the mechanisms of injuries are necessary to be able to develop robust and discipline-specific prevention strategies.

Explore further: Study: Underweight female runners more likely to get stress fractures

Related Stories

Study: Underweight female runners more likely to get stress fractures

June 12, 2017
Carrying less weight may make female runners faster, but a new study from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows it may also put them at a higher risk for injuries.

Link between stress fracture injuries and genes found

February 9, 2016
In a paper published in The Official Journal of the International Purine Club University of Liverpool researchers have successfully identified how certain genes can contribute towards a person's susceptibility to stress fracture ...

No good evidence that shock-absorbing insoles stave off injuries or stress fractures

December 12, 2016
There's no good evidence that shock-absorbing insoles, which are used to reduce impact and minimise muscle, tendon, and bone damage, do stave off injuries or stress fractures, reveals a pooled analysis of the available data, ...

Case study highlights potential risk for triceps tendon ruptures in athletes

July 12, 2017
In a case report recently published by experts at Baylor College of Medicine in the journal Sports Health, sports medicine expert Dr. Theodore Shybut highlights the need to be aware of the potential risk of tendon ruptures ...

Make no bones about it: The female athlete triad can lead to problems with bone health

July 1, 2015
Participation in sports by women and girls has increased from 310,000 individuals in 1971 to 3.37 million in 2010. At the same time, sports-related injuries among female athletes have skyrocketed. According to a new study ...

Don't let lower back injuries take you down for the count

July 6, 2017
Nearly one in three competitive athletes experiences low back pain. According to a literature review in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, lower (lumbar) back pain is a commonly ...

Recommended for you

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

February 21, 2018
Is the next generation better or worse off because of smartphones? The answer is complex and research shows it largely depends on their lives offline.

Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors': study

February 21, 2018
Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public ...

Tackling health problems in the young is crucial for their children's future

February 21, 2018
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy - even going back to adolescence - according to a new study by researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, ...

Why teens need up to 10 hours' sleep

February 21, 2018
Technology, other distractions and staying up late make is difficult, but researchers say teenagers need to make time for 8-10 hours of sleep a night to optimise their performance and maintain good health and wellbeing.

Electronic health records don't reduce administrative costs

February 21, 2018
The federal government thought that adopting certified electronic health record systems (EHR) would reduce administrative costs for physicians in a variety of specialties. However, a major new study conducted by researchers ...

Low-fat or low-carb? It's a draw, study finds

February 20, 2018
New evidence from a study at the Stanford University School of Medicine might dismay those who have chosen sides in the low-fat versus low-carb diet debate.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.