, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 627-638
Date: 08 May 2008

Prevalence of pathologic findings in asymptomatic knees of marathon runners before and after a competition in comparison with physically active subjects—a 3.0 T magnetic resonance imaging study

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Purpose

To determine the prevalence of pathologic findings in asymptomatic knees of marathon runners before and after a competition in comparison with physically active subjects. To compare the diagnostic performance of cartilage-dedicated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences at 3.0 T.

Materials and methods

Ten marathon runners underwent 3.0 T MRI 2–3 days before and after competition. Twelve physically active asymptomatic subjects not performing long-distance running were examined as controls. Pathologic condition was assessed with the whole-organ magnetic resonance imaging score (WORMS). Cartilage abnormalities and bone marrow edema pattern (BMEP) were quantified. Visualization of cartilage pathology was assessed with intermediate-weighted fast spin-echo (IM-w FSE), fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition (FIESTA) and T1-weighted three-dimensional (3D) high-spatial-resolution volumetric fat-suppressed spoiled gradient-echo (SPGR) MRI sequences.

Results

Eight of ten marathon runners and 7/12 controls showed knee abnormality. Slightly more and larger cartilage abnormalities, and BMEP, in marathon runners yielded higher but not significantly different WORMS (P > 0.05) than in controls. Running a single marathon did not alter MR findings substantially. Cartilage abnormalities were best visualized with IM-w FSE images (P < 0.05).

Conclusion

A high prevalence of knee abnormalities was found in marathon runners and also in active subjects participating in other recreational sports. IM-w FSE sequences delineated more cartilage MR imaging abnormalities than did FIESTA and SPGR sequences.

This work was supported by the Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee (REAC) of the University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA, through the Clough G Memorial Endowment Fund, and by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plc, Research and Development, London, UK.