For most dedicated athletes, sports injuries related to muscles and bones are extremely common. In fact, at the professional level, athletes devote much of their time towards injury prevention: strength exercises, daily flexibility regimen, nutrition, and muscle therapy. The implications of sports-related injuries are detrimental to the athlete and can be career altering. KMG sits down with Charlie Danielson, a professional golfer on the PGA Tour as he shares his personal experience battling knee injuries. He tells us how medical imaging played a significant role in his diagnosis and treatment.
The diagnosis of any sports related injury is established after a thorough clinical examination. When it comes to a knee-related injury, medical imaging plays a critical role in providing accurate diagnostic and prognostic information. In fact, MRI is currently one of the most common imaging exams utilized in assessing knee injuries.
Why is MRI the preferred method for sports injuries?
In many cases of knee injuries, the physical finding may be hard to specify using x-ray, ultrasound or CT. The unique soft tissue contrast capabilities of an MRI make it a great tool for defining problems in the knee. MRI scans can detect muscle damage and identify acute lesions or meniscal tears (such as cartilage injuries). In the case for Charlie Danielson, an MRI scan was exactly what the doctors needed to make a diagnosis for his knee pain.
What did the MRI show?
Charlie Danielson is a 27-year-old, 6-foot-5, professional golfer on the PGA Tour. He grew up playing basketball and golf; two sports that put excessive strain on a person’s knees. In December of 2017, Danielson had lingering pain in his left knee and after exploring various options of therapy, he met with an orthopedic surgeon and went in for an MRI. The findings were uncompromising. The MRI showed that Danielson has isolated patellofemoral arthritis. This is a result of constant repetition and stress on the knee over the years. “There was a lot of bone on bone between my kneecap and trochlear groove,” said Danielson.
The difficulty with arthritis is that there is no cure to reverse it. Following the diagnosis, Danielson underwent weeks of physical therapy, PRP, and cortisone injections. Ultimately, it was decided that knee surgery was the only solution.
How was the MRI experience?
Danielson goes in for routine scans to check on his knee progress. In total, he has received six (6) MRI scans and almost all of them have been performed in a Mobile unit. “I have always enjoyed my experiences,” said Danielson. “A parked mobile MRI is a useful and convenient option for hospitals to consider. I’ve never experienced a complication and I actually enjoy making the small trip out of the hospital and hopping in a mobile unit.”
What’s Next for the professional golfer?
Danielson will continue to work on his knee health and get comfortable swinging at tour speeds. His tentative timeline for competition again is September 2021. The Doctors are optimistic about his recovery and they will continue to monitor his cartilage progress via MRI’s.