Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used to evaluate the morphology of the knee in athletes with high knee impact; however, complex repeated loading of the joint can lead to biochemical and structural degeneration that occur prior to visible morphological changes. In this study, we utilized multiparametric quantitative MRI to compare morphology and composition of articular cartilage and subchondral bone shape between young athletes with high knee impact (basketball players; n = 40) and non-knee impact (swimmers; n = 25). We implemented voxel-based relaxometry to register all cases to a single reference space and performed localized compositional analysis of T1? - and T2 -relaxation times on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Additionally, statistical shape modeling was employed to extract differences in subchondral bone shape between the two groups. Evaluation of cartilage composition demonstrated significant prolongation of relaxation times in the medial femoral and tibial compartments and in the posterolateral femur of basketball players in comparison to relaxation times in the same cartilage compartments of swimmers. Compositional analysis also showed depth-dependent differences with prolongation of the superficial layer in basketball players. For subchondral bone shape, 3 total modes were found to be significantly different between groups and related to the relative sizes of the tibial plateaus, intercondylar eminences, and the curvature and concavity of the patellar lateral facet. In summary, this study identified several characteristics associated with high knee impact which may expand our understanding of local degenerative patterns in this population. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
View details for DOI 10.1002/jor.24851
View details for PubMedID 32910520