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  1. Ronan Kearney1,
  2. Angela Gisselman2,
  3. Eoin Cunniffe3,
  4. Josh Heerey4
  1. 1Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  3. 3Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4La Trobe University, La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ronan Kearney; ronankearney{at}

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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 …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.