Context: Delayed onset muscle soreness is one of the most common reasons for impaired muscle performance in sports and is associated with reduced muscle strength and frequently observed both in professional and recreational athletes. Objective: To emphasize the diagnostic value of acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) in imaging of delayed onset muscle soreness by comparing findings with high-resolution 3T magnetic resonance imaging T2-weighted sequences. Design: Case series. Setting: Laboratory environment. Participants: Fifteen healthy students (7 females and 8 males; mean [SD]: age 24  y, height 178  cm, body weight 67  kg). Main Outcome Measures: ARFI values, represented as shear wave velocities of the gastrocnemius muscle and soleus muscle, as well as conventional ultrasound, high-resolution 3T magnetic resonance imaging, creatine kinase activity, extension range of the ankle joint, calf circumference, and muscle soreness were assessed before (baseline) and 60 hours after (postintervention) a standardized eccentric exercise. Results: ARFI shear wave velocity values of the gastrocnemius muscle revealed a statistically significant decrease of 19.1% between baseline (2.2 [0.26] m/s) and postintervention (1.78 [0.24] m/s); P = .01. At follow-up, the magnetic resonance imaging investigations showed intramuscular edema for the gastrocnemius muscle in all participants corresponding to a significant raise in T2 signal intensity (P = .001) and in T2-time values (P = .004). Conclusions: ARFI elastography seems to be an additional sensitive diagnostic modality in the diagnostic workup of delayed onset muscle soreness. Intramuscular shear wave velocities could represent an additional imaging marker for the assessment and monitoring of ultrastructural muscle injuries and therefore be helpful for individual training composition in elite sports.
Thilo Hotfiel, Marion Kellermann, Bernd Swoboda, Dane Wildner, Tobias Golditz, Casper Grim, Martin Raithel, Michael Uder and Rafael Heiss
Isabel Mayer, Matthias W. Hoppe, Jürgen Freiwald, Rafael Heiss, Martin Engelhardt, Casper Grim, Christoph Lutter, Moritz Huettel, Raimund Forst and Thilo Hotfiel
Context: Foam rolling (FR) has been developed into a popular intervention and has been established in various sports disciplines. However, its effects on target tissue, including changes in stiffness properties, are still poorly understood. Objective: To investigate muscle-specific and connective tissue-specific responses after FR in recreational athletes with different FR experience. Design: Case series. Setting: Laboratory environment. Participants: The study was conducted with 40 participants, consisting of 20 experienced (EA) and 20 nonexperienced athletes (NEA). Intervention: The FR intervention included 5 trials per 45 seconds of FR of the lateral thigh in the sagittal plane with 20 seconds of rest between each trial. Main Outcome Measures: Acoustic radiation force impulse elastosonography values, represented as shear wave velocity, were obtained under resting conditions (t0) and several times after FR exercise (0 min [t1], 30 min [t2], 6 h [t3], and 24 h [t4]). Data were assessed in superficial and deep muscle (vastus lateralis muscle; vastus intermedius muscle) and in connective tissue (iliotibial band). Results: In EA, tissue stiffness of the iliotibial band revealed a significant decrease of 13.2% at t1 (P ≤ .01) and 12.1% at t3 (P = .02). In NEA, a 6.2% increase of stiffness was found at t1, which was not significantly different to baseline (P = .16). For both groups, no significant iliotibial band stiffness changes were found at further time points. Also, regarding muscle stiffness, no significant changes were detected at any time for EA and NEA (P > .05). Conclusions: This study demonstrates a significant short-term decrease of connective tissue stiffness in EA, which may have an impact on the biomechanical output of the connective tissue. Thus, FR effects on tissue stiffness depend on the athletes’ experience in FR, and existing studies have to be interpreted cautiously in the context of the enrolled participants.