[Biomechanical changes in and lesions of the lumbosacral spine in horse riding. Magnetic resonance assessment]

Radiol Med. 1996 May;91(5):542-6.
[Article in Italian]


Spinal injuries account for 5-15% of sport-related traumas. Equestrian sports are considered, together with rugby, motor sport and diving, the riskiest sport for severe spinal injuries. We investigated the biomechanical changes and repeated microtraumas in equitation. We examined with MR the lumbar spines of 12 professional horsewomen and horsemen, 18-51 years old (mean: 33.4 years), belonging to F.I.S.E. (the Italian Federation for Equestrian Sports) and classified as Olympic riders, Senior and Young European riders. An 0.3-T resistive and an 0.2-T permanent magnets with dedicated surface coils were used. We also examined a control group of non-professional healthy volunteers homogeneous by age. MR findings were classified as follows: 1) changes in normal bending and angles of the lumbar spine; 2) injuries and changes in lumbar disks; 3) changes in spinal ligaments; 4) vertebral body injuries. MR was very sensitive in the assessment of all lumbosacral components in all the athletes; besides yielding useful findings to integrate with clinical results, MR also has a predictive value relative to both the continuation of sports activity and the possible damage at the end of it.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sacrum / injuries
  • Sacrum / pathology*
  • Spinal Injuries / pathology*
  • Sports*