Advancing, promoting and sharing knowledge of health through excellence in teaching, clinical practice and research into the prevention and treatment of illness

Is the immediate effect of marathon running on novice runners' knee joints sustained within 6 months after the run? A follow-up 3.0 T MRI study.

Horga, LM; Henckel, J; Fotiadou, A; Hirschmann, AC; Di Laura, A; Torlasco, C; D'Silva, A; Sharma, S; Moon, JC; Hart, AJ (2020) Is the immediate effect of marathon running on novice runners' knee joints sustained within 6 months after the run? A follow-up 3.0 T MRI study. Skeletal Radiol. ISSN 1432-2161
SGUL Authors: Sharma, Sanjay

PDF Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (675kB) | Preview


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate changes in the knee joints of asymptomatic first-time marathon runners, using 3.0 T MRI, 6 months after finishing marathon training and run. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Six months after their participation in a baseline study regarding their knee joints, 44 asymptomatic novice marathoners (17 males, 27 females, mean age 46 years old) agreed to participate in a repeat MRI investigation: 37 completed both a standardized 4-month-long training programme and the marathon (marathon runners); and 7 dropped out during training (pre-race dropouts). The participants already underwent bilateral 3.0 T MRIs: 6 months before and 2 weeks after their first marathon, the London Marathon 2017. This study was a follow-up assessment of their knee joints. Each knee structure was assessed using validated scoring/grading systems at all time points. RESULTS: Two weeks after the marathon, 3 pre-marathon bone marrow lesions and 2 cartilage lesions showed decrease in radiological score on MRI, and the improvement was sustained at the 6-month follow-up. New improvements were observed on MRI at follow-up: 5 pre-existing bone marrow lesions and 3 cartilage lesions that remained unchanged immediately after the marathon reduced in their extent 6 months later. No further lesions appeared at follow-up, and the 2-week post-marathon lesions showed signs of reversibility: 10 of 18 bone marrow oedema-like signals and 3 of 21 cartilage lesions decreased on MRI. CONCLUSION: The knees of novice runners achieved sustained improvement, for at least 6 months post-marathon, in the condition of their bone marrow and articular cartilage.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Keywords: Bone, Cartilage, Knee, MRI, Marathon running, 1103 Clinical Sciences, Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging
SGUL Research Institute / Research Centre: Academic Structure > Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute (MCS)
Journal or Publication Title: Skeletal Radiol
ISSN: 1432-2161
Language: eng
17 February 2020Published
3 February 2020Accepted
Publisher License: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
PubMed ID: 32065245
Go to PubMed abstract
Publisher's version:

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item