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Can marathon running improve knee damage of middle-aged adults? A prospective cohort study

Horga, LM; Henckel, J; Fotiadou, A; Hirschmann, A; Torlasco, C; Di Laura, A; D'Silva, A; ... Hart, A; + view all (2019) Can marathon running improve knee damage of middle-aged adults? A prospective cohort study. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine , 5 (1) , Article e000586. 10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000586. Green open access

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Abstract

Objectives To evaluate the short-term impact of longdistance running on knee joints using MRI. Methods 82 healthy adults participating in their first marathon underwent 3T (Tesla) MRI of both knees 6 months before and half a month after the marathon: 71 completed both the 4 month-long standardised training programme and the marathon; and 11 dropped-out during training and did not run the marathon. Two senior musculoskeletal radiologists graded the internal knee structures using validated scoring systems. Participants completed Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score questionnaires at each visit for self-reporting knee function. Results Premarathon and pretraining MRI showed signs of damage, without symptoms, to several knee structures in the majority of the 82 middle-aged volunteers. However, after the marathon, MRI showed a reduction in the radiological score of damage in: subchondral bone marrow oedema in the condyles of the tibia (p=0.011) and femur (p=0.082). MRI did also show an increase in radiological scores to the following structures: cartilage of the lateral patella (p=0.0005); semimembranosus tendon (p=0.016); iliotibial band (p<0.0001) and the prepatellar bursa (p=0.016). Conclusion Improvement to damaged subchondral bone of the tibial and femoral condyles was found following the marathon in novice runners, as well as worsening of the patella cartilage although asymptomatic. This is the most robust evidence to link marathon running with knee joint health and provides important information for those seeking to understand the link between long distance running and osteoarthritis of the main weight-bearing areas of the knee.

Type: Article
Title: Can marathon running improve knee damage of middle-aged adults? A prospective cohort study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000586
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000586
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Ortho and MSK Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Clinical Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084717
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