To determine the prevalence of abnormal structural findings using 3.0-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the asymptomatic knees of male and female collegiate basketball players before and after a season of high-intensity basketball.Institutional review board-approved prospective case series.Asymptomatic knees of 24 NCAA Division I collegiate basketball players (12 male, 12 female) were imaged using a 3.0-T MRI scanner before and after the end of the competitive season. Three subjects did not undergo scanning after the season.Images were evaluated for prepatellar bursitis, fat pad edema, patellar and quadriceps tendinopathy, bone marrow edema, and articular cartilage and meniscal injury.Every knee imaged had at least 1 structural abnormality both preseason and postseason. A high preseason and postseason prevalence of fat pad edema (75% and 81%), patellar tendinopathy (83% and 90%), and quadriceps tendinopathy (75% and 90%) was seen. Intrameniscal signal change was observed in 50% preseason knees and 62% of postseason knees, but no discrete tears were found. Bone marrow edema was seen in 75% and 86% of knees in the preseason and postseason, respectively. Cartilage findings were observed in 71% and 81% of knees in the preseason and postseason, respectively. The cartilage injury score increased significantly in the postseason compared with the preseason (P = 0.0009).A high prevalence of abnormal knee MRI findings was observed in a population of asymptomatic young elite athletes. These preliminary data suggest that high-intensity basketball may have potentially deleterious effects on articular cartilage.
View details for PubMedID 27347867