(Golden Oldie) Connective tissue injury in calf muscle tears and return to play: MRI correlation

Review written by Adam Johnson info

Key Points

  1. The paper proposes a new grading system for the calf structures due to its more complex anatomy.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Within elite sport there is a wealth of research surrounding the assessment and management of anterior and posterior thigh musculature. However, despite being one of the most commonly injured muscle groups (1) the calf complex is less well researched.

It is well known that the musculature of the calf is made up of a complex and unique (2) make up of connective tissue. The integrity of this connective tissue which is located both on the surface and intramuscularly is important for the normal function of the lower leg function. Although research within the posterior thigh (3) has proposed that involvement of the intramuscular tendon as a result of injury is a poor prognostic factor, this has not been looked at within the calf musculature.

The key objective of this paper was to both assess the connective tissue integrity of the calf musculature in acute injury and also to propose an appropriate grading system along with return to play time correlation.

It is well known that the musculature of the calf is made up of a complex and unique make up of connective tissue.
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MRI scans should be the go-to imaging modality choice if there is any suspicion of muscular injury to the area.

METHODS

For this study, the authors retrospectively searched their database for patients who had presented to their clinic with clinical suspicion of acute calf muscle injury which then was subsequently confirmed by MRI scan. Patients were excluded from the study if

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