Traumatic musculotendinous injuries of the knee: diagnosis with MR imaging

J T Bencardino, Z S Rosenberg, R R Brown, A Hassankhani, E S Lustrin, J Beltran
Radiographics: a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc 2000, 20 Spec No: S103-20
Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is the imaging modality of choice for evaluation of acute traumatic musculotendinous injuries of the knee. Three discrete categories of acute injuries to the musculotendinous unit can be defined: muscle contusion, myotendinous strain, and tendon avulsion. Among the quadriceps muscles, the rectus femoris is the most susceptible to injury at the myotendinous junction due to its superficial location, predominance of type II fibers, eccentric muscle action, and extension across two joints. Among the muscles of the pes anserinus, the sartorius is the most susceptible to strain injury due to its superficial location and biarticular course. The classic fusiform configuration of the semimembranosus along with a propensity for eccentric actions also make it prone to strain injury. MR imaging findings associated with rupture of the iliotibial tract include discontinuity and edema, which are best noted on coronal images. The same mechanism of injury that tears the arcuate ligament from its fibular insertion can also result in avulsion injury of the biceps femoris. The gastrocnemius muscle is prone to strain injury due to its action across two joints and its superficial location. Injuries of the muscle belly and myotendinous junction of the popliteus are far more common than tendinous injuries.

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