UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering


Seminar: Effect of marathon running on middle-aged novice runners

26 February 2020, 12:30 pm–1:30 pm

Marathon runners

The first seminar in the UCL Institute of Orthopaedic & Musculoskeletal Science new monthly series.

Event Information

Open to





Sara Ghoreishizadeh – UCL Institute of Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Sciences


Student Centre
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
Brockley Hill


Objectives: To evaluate the impact of long-distance running on knee joints using MRI. 

Methods: 82 healthy adults participating in their first marathon underwent 3T (Tesla) MRI of both knees 6 months before and half a month after the marathon. Two senior musculoskeletal radiologists graded the internal knee structures using validated scoring systems. 

Results: Pre-marathon and pre-training MRI showed signs of damage, without symptoms, to several knee structures in the majority of the 82 middle-aged volunteers. However, after the marathon, MRI showed a reduction in the radiological score of damage in subchondral bone marrow oedema in the condyles of the tibia (p=0.011) and femur (p=0.082). MRI did also show an increase in radiological scores to the following structures: cartilage of the lateral patella (p=0.0005); semimembranosus tendon (p=0.016); iliotibial band (p<0.0001) and the prepatellar bursa (p=0.016).

Conclusion: Improvement to damaged subchondral bone of the weight-bearing compartments was found following the marathon in novice runners, as well as worsening of the patella cartilage although asymptomatic.

About the Speakers

Prof Alister Hart

Action Medical Research Chair of Academic Clinical Orthopaedics at UCL

Professor Alister Hart holds the Action Medical Research Chair of Academic Clinical Orthopaedics at University College London (UCL) and is an honorary consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) NHS Trust. He specialises in hip and knee problems, was nicknamed the “Hospital Hip Detective” by the BBC and campaigns for everlasting performance of orthopaedic implants.

His surgical and research interests focus on the achievement of the best possible patient and radiological outcomes after hip and knee replacement. His Impact Case study for the 2014 UCL REF on the subject of hip implant research included: changes to international health policy; development of new and revised clinical guidance in the UK and abroad; changes to clinical practice and subsequent cost savings; and accountability within industry.

Dr Johann Henckel

Fellow in Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery at UCL

Dr Johann Henckel is a fellow in Trauma & Orthopaedic surgery having started his surgical training at UCL Medical School.