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2019 - Esculier

Objective: Running is an easy way of meeting physical activity recommendations for individuals with knee osteoarthritis (KOA); however, it remains unknown how their cartilage reacts to running. The objective of this pilot study was to compare the effects of 30 min of running on T2 and T1ρ relaxation times of tibiofemoral cartilage in female runners with and without KOA.

Methods: Ten female runners with symptomatic KOA (mean age 52.6 ± 7.6 years) and 10 without KOA (mean age 52.5 ± 7.8 years) ran for 30 min on a treadmill. Tibiofemoral cartilage T2 and T1ρ relaxation times were measured using magnetic resonance imaging prior to and immediately after the bout of running. Repeated-measures analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were conducted to examine between-group differences across scanning times.

Results: No Group × Time interactions were found for T2 (P ≥ 0.076) or T1ρ (P ≥ 0.288) relaxation times. However, runners with KOA showed increased T2 values compared with pre-running in the medial and lateral femur 55 min post-running (5.4 to 5.5%, P < 0.022) and in all four tibiofemoral compartments 90 min post-running (6.9 to 11.1%, P < 0.01). A significant group effect was found for T1ρ in the medial femur, with greater values in those with KOA compared with controls.

Conclusion: While Group × Time interactions in T2 and T1ρ relaxation times remained statistically insignificant, the observed significant increases in T2 in runners with tibiofemoral osteoarthritis TFOA may suggest slower and continuing changes in the cartilage and thus a need for longer recovery after running. Future research should investigate the effects of repeated exposure to running.

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