Sports Medicine imaging is the branch of radiology which caters for the musculoskeletal imaging needs for athletes of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic competitor, national footballer, serious marathon runner, recreational jogger and people who simply wish to improve their general fitness.
Though the health benefits of regular exercise are well known, sporting pursuits often result in injury.
Injuries are generally divided into two main categories:
- those which are due to overuse (repetitive action), such as tendinosis, arthritis and stress fractures
- those which are traumatic (usually a single episode of trauma), such a shoulder dislocation, fracture, or anterior cruciate ligament disruption.
Generally, overuse injuries resolve conservatively, that is, with rest, pain relief, anti-inflammatory medications, followed by a period of rehabilitation and graduated return to activities. Many athletes may consult a sports physician, physiotherapist and/or fitness coach to assist with their recovery.
Depending on the degree of trauma, consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon may be required, for example to transfix a fracture, repair a torn tendon or cartilage defect.
Understandably, athletes want to minimize their time on the sidelines. In order to return to training and competition as soon as possible, an accurate and rapid diagnosis is essential. Following a clinical assessment, many athletes require some form of imaging to confirm the suspected diagnosis and assess its severity, for example, an X-Ray to exclude a fracture, MRI scan to diagnose a meniscal or cartilage tear, or ultrasound to assess a hamstring injury.
Once a diagnosis has been made, imaging guided treatment, also known as interventional radiology, may be required, such as a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection of a muscle tear, cortisone into an inflamed joint or harvested tendon cells (tenocytes) into a damaged Achilles tendon. Such procedures are performed at Melbourne Radiology Clinic either with the use of ultrasound or CT fluoroscopic guidance.
Melbourne Radiology Clinic has the necessary expertise to deal with all facets of sports medicine imaging and image guided intervention.