Our first study looks at the effects of running a marathon on middle-aged, first-time marathon runners with knees that are asymptomatic, i.e. not showing symptoms.
With this study we are trying to answer two key questions...
1. Does running a marathon damage the cartilage in the knee?
2. Does damage observed through MRI scans prevent running further marathons?
what we found...
1. Running a marathon does affect knee cartilage
We saw some bruising of the cartilage, on the MRI, underneath the kneecap. However, the main weight bearing cartilage was not affected. In other words, the commonest area for knee arthritis was not affected. We now need to repeat knee MRI scanning, 6 months after the marathon, to see whether this kneecap bruising resolves.
2. Meniscal problems revealed by MRI scans do not prevent running further marathons
The presence of meniscal cartilage tears did not affect the ability to train for, or run the marathon.