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Magnetic resonance imaging findings in the knee before and after long-distance running: documentation of irreversible structural damage? A systematic review
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2016;45:1206–1217
Long-distance running is a popular recreational sport, especially for many of our health enthusiast BJSM readers. However, we know one question looms: Is long-distance running good or bad for your knees? In this systematic review of 19 studies, a standard knee MRI assessing acute radiological changes post running provides some insight to this question.
The cohort included individuals with minor knee pain, healthy asymptomatic runners and those who had previous knee surgery. Running distances ranged from half to ultra marathons. Ten of 16 studies that assessed cartilage or meniscus discovered no significant morphological changes subsequent to running. Of the remaining studies that initially observed significant meniscal or cartilage changes within 3 days, all except one identified no further change at a second follow-up visit within 12 weeks. Surprisingly, one study even noted significant recovery from initial morphological changes at …
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.