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Medicina dello Sport 2016 March;69(1):94-9


language: English, Italian

Proximal rectus femoris calcific tendinopathy: radiographic findings

Stefano DRAGONI 1, Calogero R. AIELLO 2

1 Department of Radiology, Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine, Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Rome, Italy; 2 School of Sports Medicine, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to diagnose the presence of a rectus femoris calcification tendinophaty in a sample of athletes subjected to X-ray examination of the pelvis.
METHODS: We carried out a retrospective case series review of the radiographic examinations of the pelvis, performed to detect pathological forms of joint or skeletal nature from 2005 to 2015 at the Department of Radiology of the CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine Rome.
RESULTS: Amongst a total of 242 radiographs performed, we identified 11 calcifications in the anatomic region of the anterior hip. Only 4 of them have been interpreted as the likely relevance of this anatomical formation, for their typical morphological appearance in “comet tail”, which recalls directly the morphological characteristics of the tendon. The proximal rectus femoris osteo-tendon junction is constituted by a direct tendon and a reflected one. Although both teams can experience a calcification, the one on a direct tendon appears more rare. For their characteristic multifactorial genesis, the factors that can lead to a tendon calcification are several and often not so easy to identify; among these, the iterative microtrauma seem to be the most responsible cause for the deposition of hydroxyapatite crystals in a context of local hypoxia, in combination with metabolic disorders and individual susceptibility factors.
CONCLUSIONS: The rectus femoris calcific tendinopathy is a rare event, yet little known; if its presence is symptomatic it must be taken into consideration especially for those subjects whose sport activity weights intensely and repeatedly on the muscles of their lower limbs.

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