Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 627–638

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

  • Robert Stahl
  • Anthony Luke
  • C. Benjamin Ma
  • Roland Krug
  • Lynne Steinbach
  • Sharmila Majumdar
  • Thomas M. Link
Scientific Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00256-008-0491-y

Cite this article as:
Stahl, R., Luke, A., Ma, C.B. et al. Skeletal Radiol (2008) 37: 627. doi:10.1007/s00256-008-0491-y

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.

Keywords

Magnetic resonance imaging Cartilage imaging Knee cartilage lesions Marathon runners Recreational athletes 

Copyright information

© ISS 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Stahl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anthony Luke
    • 3
    • 4
  • C. Benjamin Ma
    • 3
  • Roland Krug
    • 1
  • Lynne Steinbach
    • 1
  • Sharmila Majumdar
    • 1
  • Thomas M. Link
    • 1
  1. 1.Musculoskeletal and Quantitative Imaging Group, Department of RadiologyUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Radiology, University Hospitals-Campus GrosshadernLudwig Maximilians University of MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Family and Community MedicineUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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