Shoulder MRI’s in Asymptomatic elite volleyball athletes shows extensive ‘pathology’

Here’s a recent 2019 study showing that Olympic level volleyball players who are playing with no symptoms have extensive “pathology” in the shoulder. The reason I share these studies is to educate people that many times structural ‘abnormalities’ in and of themselves do not have direct relationships to pain. We need to look at the whole person and not just a MRI or x-ray when looking for causes of pain. Relying solely on imaging reports leads to unnecessary surgeries and a lot of nocebo (negative) messages being sent to patients from healthcare providers.

In this study, here’s what they found: (remind you none of them had symptoms and all were playing normally)

  • 88.5% had rotator cuff tendinosis
  • 65.4% had partial rotator cuff tears
  • 23.1% had a labral tear
  • 100% MRI’s showed abnormal ‘pathology’