Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine in asymptomatic professional fast bowlers in cricket

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2005 Aug;87(8):1111-6. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.87B8.16405.


Low back injuries account for the greatest loss of playing time for professional fast bowlers in cricket. Previous radiological studies have shown a high prevalence of degeneration of the lumbar discs and stress injuries of the pars interarticularis in elite junior fast bowlers. We have examined MRI appearance of the lumbar spines of 36 asymptomatic professional fast bowlers and 17 active control subjects. The fast bowlers had a relatively high prevalence of multi-level degeneration of the lumbar discs and a unique pattern of stress lesions of the pars interarticularis on the non-dominant side. The systems which have been used to classify the MR appearance of the lumbar discs and pars were found to be reliable. However, the relationship between the radiological findings, pain and dysfunction remains unclear.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Athletic Injuries / pathology*
  • Fractures, Stress / etiology
  • Fractures, Stress / pathology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / pathology
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Low Back Pain / pathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Fractures / etiology
  • Spinal Fractures / pathology