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Int J Sports Med. 2020 Jan 20. doi: 10.1055/a-1083-6580. [Epub ahead of print]

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

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Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.
Department of Orthopaedics, Landesklinikum Amstetten, Amstetten, Austria.
MR Centre of Excellence, Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Austria.
Department of Radiology, Division of Neuroradiology and Musculoskeletal Radiology, Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Austria.
Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Austria.
Department of Radiology, MR Centre-High field MR, Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Austria.


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.


Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests. There are no financial or non-financial competing interests of other people or organizations influencing our interpretation of data or presentation of information.

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