A mobile MRI truck followed long distance runners over 4, 487 kilometres as they participated in the Trans Europe Foot Race (TEFR), a trek which begins in southern Italy and finishes in Norway’s North Cape. Although the runners ran for 64 consecutive days without a day’s rest.
The findings, published in an MRI study presented at the annual meeting of the RSNA (Radiological Society of North America) concluded that, despite the grueling physical strain the runners put on their bodies, their feet and ankles were actually regenerating cartilage!
66 per cent of the runners (44 in total) participated in the MRI study. Each participant was scanned approximately every 3-4 days, totaling 15-17 scans throughout the entirety of the race. Over the first 1500-2500 kms of the race, the MRIs showed cartilage degradation of the lower extremities. After that initial degradation, further scans showed regeneration of the foot and ankle cartilage as the race wore on.
“Interestingly, further testing indicated that ankle and foot cartilage have the ability to regenerate under ongoing endurance running,” says radiologist Uwe Schütz, one of the study’s authors. “The human foot is made for running.”