UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering


Long-distance running can improve parts of runners’ knees

A study by UCL and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital found that marathon running could improve knee damage in novice middle-aged runners.

Marathon runners

13 July 2021

The researchers used high-resolution MRI to evaluate the short-term impact that long-distance running has on knee joints.  Many of the participants had pre-existing knee damage but saw improvement in weight-bearing areas of the joint after marathon training. 

This research improves our understanding of how high-intensity exercise affects the knee and could persuade more non-runners to take up the exercise.  

The research study was led by Professor Alister Hart (Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital) and was funded by his patients, the Maurice Hatter Foundation, the RNOH Charity, the Rosetrees Trust and the Stoneygate Trust and supported by researchers at the National Institute for Health Research University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.