Femoropatellar Joint Reaction Detected During a 4486 KM Ultramarathon with Mobile MRI

Int J Sports Med. 2020 Jun;41(6):398-411. doi: 10.1055/a-1083-6580. Epub 2020 Jan 20.


Almost nothing is known about the condition of the knee joints of multistage ultra-marathon (MSUM) runner. This is first image-based investigation of the femoropatellar joint (FPJ) using a mobile 1.5T MRI accompanying the MSUM TransEurope Foot-Race (TEFR) 64 stages over 4486 km. Twenty-two (20 male) subjects got a knee MRI-protocol at defined measurement intervals during TEFR: T2*-mapping (FLASH T2*-GRE), TIRM, and fat saturated PD -sequence. In the FPJ 12 different regions were evaluated regarding cartilage T2* and thickness changes and cartilage lesions in course of TEFR and a test on possible compounding factors (running burden, BMI, age) was done if being appropriate. No significant changes in cartilage thickness- and T2*-values were found during TEFR. In 8 runners, at least one single cartilage lesion (Grade 2-3) was found at baseline, but no significant race-related adjacent T2*-changes or progress of the defects could be detected. Analyses on compounding factors were negative. In knees with MPP (5) significantly lower adjacent T2*-values were found. The extreme running burden of a MSUM seems not to have a relevant negative influence on the FPJ tissues, even if cartilage lesions are present.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cartilage, Articular / diagnostic imaging
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiology*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patellofemoral Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Patellofemoral Joint / pathology
  • Patellofemoral Joint / physiology*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Running / physiology*