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Open Access Research article

High-resolution ultrasound of rotator cuff and biceps reflection pulley in non-elite junior tennis players: anatomical study

Alberto Tagliafico1, Angela Cadoni1, Bianca Bignotti2* and Carlo Martinoli2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Anatomy, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Genoa, Via de Toni 14, 16132 Genoa, Italy

2 Radiology Department -DISSAL- Università di Genova, Largo Rosanna Benzi 8, 16138 Genova, Italy

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:241  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-241

Published: 18 July 2014

Abstract

Background

Tennis is believed to be potentially harmful for the shoulder, therefore the purpose of this study is to evaluate the anatomy of the rotator cuff and the coraco-humeral ligament (CHL) in a-symptomatic non-elite junior tennis players with high-resolution ultrasound (US).

Methods

From August 2009 to September 2010 n = 90 a-symptomatic non-elite junior tennis players (mean age ± standard deviation: 15 ± 3) and a control group of age- and sex- matched subjects were included. Shoulder assessment with a customized standardized protocol was performed. Body mass index, dominant arm, years of practice, weekly hours of training, racket weight, grip (Eastern, Western and semi-Western), kind of strings were recorded.

Results

Abnormalities were found at ultrasound in 14/90 (15%) players. Two players had supraspinatus tendinosis, two had subacromial impingement and ten had subacromial bursitis. CHL thickness resulted comparable in the dominant and non-dominant arms (11.3 ± 4.4 mm vs. 13 ± 4.2, p > 0.05). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that no association was present among CHL thickness and the variables evaluated. In the control group, abnormalities were found at ultrasound in 6/60 (10%) subjects (sub-acromial bursitis). No statistically significant differences between players and control group were found (p = 0.71).

Conclusion

In a-symptomatic non-elite junior tennis players only minor shoulder abnormalities were found.

Keywords:
Shoulder; Ultrasound; Tennis; Biceps; Bursitis