Handball, a fast paced, high scoring contact sport played in a court larger than that of basketball, is gaining popularity in the United States. In fact, the United States Team Handball training and residency programs have recently moved to its new home in Auburn University to prepare more intensely for the 2016 Olympics.


Because of this, imaging techniques have become more important for early detection of knee injuries that are common to handball and other contact sport athletes as Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal suggests in this article:

“Handball involves lots of running, turning and jumping during the game, causing high levels of mechanical stress to the knee joint. The vigorous nature of the ball game predisposes handball players to develop osteoarthritic changes in the knee including, for example, cartilage damage, meniscal tear, ligamentous damage and bone marrow oedema-like lesions. A recent large- scale European research study involving 15,783 athletes who had primary unilateral anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction showed male team handball players (n=1,392) had an increased risk of full-thickness cartilage damage compared to male team football (soccer) players (n=6,473). Another epidemiological study demonstrated playing handball was associated with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) in 295 men aged 25 to 70 seen at orthopaedic clinics.”

We will be looking at four common imaging tools used that help sports medicine specialists choose the correct procedure for treating knee injuries: radiography, magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, OCT, and ultrasound.

Riverside, CA orthopedic centers, like most medical facilities in the U.S., use radiography as it is the most accessible tool and least expensive. Radiography is a quick way to identify a wide range of knee problems, including fracture, degenerative changes, osteochondral defects and effusions.

MRI is also a useful imaging technique in detecting knee injuries. It manipulates image contrast to highlight different issue types and has been shown to be an effective tool for definition and characterization of knee pathology.

Another imaging tool is the optical coherence tomography or OCT. This particular method provides non-invasive, high-definition imaging allowing earlier diagnosis, better follow-up of chronic cases, and more accurate and timely monitoring of the effect of medicines.

Ultrasound, an imaging technique most known for its use in viewing the fetus inside a woman’s womb, is also an available option to capture internal representation of the knee. It has the ability to image dynamic structures in real-time. Like radiography, it is cost-effective.

Riverside sports medicine procedures rely on appropriate knee imaging methods to diagnose and do surgical processes to professional and budding athletes. Orthopedic and sports medicine experts like Dr. Wade Faerber can recommend and perform the needed treatment or operation on patients based on reliable knee images.

(Source: Osteoarthritic Changes in the Knee in Handball Players, Daichi Hayashi et. al., April 1, 2014)

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