Spring is here and baseball is back! Because of the repetitive nature of throwing, baseball players and other throwing athletes are at increased risk of injuring their shoulders and elbows, especially as the number and speed of throws increase. In the shoulder, injuries to the labrum (SLAP tears), rotator cuff, biceps, and capsule are common. In the elbow, ulnar collateral ligament sprains and tears, cartilage injures, and tendinopathies can occur. In our pediatric patients, the bones can bear the brunt of a repetitive motion and become injured before the soft tissues do.
How does imaging fit into making a diagnosis?
• In most cases, imaging isn’t needed to make a diagnosis and a little rest will get the athlete back in the game!
• MR arthography (MRI done of the painful joint AFTER a radiologist fills the joint with fluid) provides the most detailed look at the structures in and around the joint. This is our recommended test when the primary concern is for labral or ulnar collateral ligament tear or articular cartilage injury. The MSK radiology physicians at ARA Health Specialists are experienced at performing these tests on adults and kids, using small needles and downsizing whenever possible, to maximize patient comfort.
• Many abnormalities that may be seen on imaging don’t require surgery and some may even represent an advantageous adaptation of tissues to the athlete’s sport. This highlights the importance of having high quality images interpreted by a MSK trained radiologist known and trusted by your Orthopedic provider!
As spring brings us all back to the ball park, injuries can once again impede athletes of all ages. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained clinicians provide state-of-the-art imaging and intervention to help get you back on the field.