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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2001 June;41(2):243-9


language: English

Calcaneal bone mineral and ultrasound attenuation in male athletes exposed to weight-bearing and nonweight-bearing activity. A cross-sectional report

Taaffe D. R., Suominen H., Ollikainen S., Cheng S.

From the Department of Health Sciences University of Jyväskylä, Finland


Background. To deter­mine if the expect­ed dif­fer­enc­es in ­bone min­er­al con­tent/den­sity of the cal­can­eus ­among ­male ath­let­ic ­groups ­that under­take ­weight-bear­ing and non­weight-bear­ing activ­ity are ­also appar­ent for ­bone “qual­ity” as ­assessed by quan­ti­ta­tive ultra­sound (QUS) atten­u­a­tion.
Methods. Experimental ­design: ­cross-sec­tion­al. Setting: a University ­research labor­a­to­ry. Participants: we stud­ied 30 ­young men: 10 Finnish nation­al lev­el jump­ers ­whose train­ing incor­po­rates repeat­ed ­impacts to the ­heel, 10 aquat­ics ath­letes ­whose skele­tons are ­exposed to non­weight-bear­ing activ­ity, and 10 sed­en­tary men ­matched for age and ­body ­weight. Measures: ­bone min­er­al con­tent (BMC, g·cm-1), ­areal ­bone min­er­al den­sity (BMDa; g·cm-2) and pre­sumed vol­u­met­ric BMD (BMDv, g·cm-3) was meas­ured by sin­gle ener­gy pho­ton absorp­tion (SPA). Broadband ultra­sound atten­u­a­tion (BUA ­using Fourier spec­tral esti­ma­tion and UBI-4 ­using Burg spec­tral esti­ma­tion, ­both in db/MHz) was ­assessed by a new QUS ­device (QUS-1TM, Metra Biosystems).
Results. There was no dif­fer­ence in ­years of ­sport spe­cif­ic train­ing or ­total train­ing ­time per ­week ­between ath­lete ­groups. BMC, BMDa and BMDv ­were sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer­ent ­among ­groups (p=0.0001) ­with jump­ers ­being high­er ­than aquat­ics ath­letes and con­trols. BMC of jump­ers was 52% and 39% high­er ­than con­trols and aquat­ics ath­letes, respec­tive­ly, ­while the cor­re­spond­ing val­ues for BMDv ­were 34% and 28%. However, BUA val­ues ­were not sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer­ent (p=0.10) ­among ­groups nor was UBI-4 (p=0.03; jump­ers val­ues ­were 7% and 6% high­er ­than aquat­ics ath­letes and con­trols, respec­tive­ly).
Conclusions. These ­cross-sec­tion­al ­results indi­cate ­that ­bone min­er­al con­tent and den­sity of the cal­can­eus are sub­stan­tial­ly high­er in jump­ers ­than indi­vid­u­als ­engaged in non­weight-bear­ing or reg­u­lar ­weight-bear­ing activ­ity. However, param­e­ters ­assessed by QUS atten­u­a­tion are not mark­ed­ly dif­fer­ent, ­which sug­gests ­that ­bone “qual­ity” prop­er­ties may not be as respon­sive as ­that of ­bone min­er­al con­tent/den­sity to habit­u­al skel­e­tal load­ing.

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