Rectus abdominis muscle injuries in elite handball players: management and rehabilitation
Ramon Balius1, Carles Pedret2, Laura Pacheco1, Josep Antoni Gutierrez3, Joan Vives4, Jaume Escoda1
1Consell Català de l’Esport, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona; 2Centro Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis, Barcelona; 3Spanish National Handball Team, Spain; 4Granollers Handball Club, Granollers, Barcelona, Spain
Abstract: Muscle injuries generally occur in two-joint muscles with a high percentage of type II fibers during the performance of eccentric activity. Some muscle injuries, such as those located in the adductor longus, a monoarticular muscle, as well as rectus abdominis do not fully comply with these requirements. This study examines five cases of elite handball players with ruptured rectus abdominals. Sonographically, lesions in rectus abdominis are shown as a disruption of the fibrillar pattern with a hematic suffusion that invades the entire lesion. In some of the cases, the ultrasound study was complemented with a MRI. A unified rehabilitation protocol was applied and the return to play time of each handball player ranged between 16 and 22 days, with an average of 18.2 days. Follow-up at 15 months showed no evidence of re-injury or residual discomfort and all of them are playing at their highest level. The aim of this study was to illustrate a feature of handball injury that, as in tennis and volleyball, is uncommon and so far has not been specifically reported. The phenomenon of contralateral abdominal hypertrophy in handball appears in the dominant arm as in tennis and volleyball.
Keywords: rectus abdominis, muscle injury, sonography, MRI, handball
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