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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Sep 09

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12519-8


language: English

Soccer participation is associated with benefits in tibial bone cross-sectional geometry and strength in young women

Julie M. HUGHES 1, D. Clark DICKIN 2, He WANG 2

1 Military Performance Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA, USA; 2 School of Kinesiology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA


BACKGROUND: Soccer has been hypothesized to be an ideal sport to stimulate favorable changes in bone properties due the high-intensity, multidirectional movements performed during play. The purpose of this study was to determine if participation in soccer is associated with enhanced bone properties such as volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), cross-sectional geometry, and estimated strength in the tibias of young, healthy women.
METHODS: Twenty female soccer players (20±1 yr) and twenty mass- and height-matched healthy women (21±1 yr) participated in this cross-sectional study. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (XCT 3000; Stratec Medizintechnik, Pforzheim, Germany) was used to assess bone characteristics, including vBMD, cross-sectional moments of inertia (CSMI), and strength/strain index (SSI) at 14%, 38%, and 66% of the tibial length proximal to the distal end plate. One-way multivariate analysis of variances was run to determine the influence of soccer training history on tibial properties.
RESULTS: Compared to healthy controls, soccer players had approximately 1.5% - 3% lower cortical vBMD but 18.5% - 30% greater CSMI and 16.5% -19% greater SSI at the three cross-sectional sites along the tibial diaphysis (all p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that soccer participation is associated with favorable bone cross-sectional geometry and estimates of bone strength. However, randomized controlled intervention trials are needed to confirm whether soccer participation results in favorable bone adaptations in young, healthy adults.

KEY WORDS: Bone strength; Soccer; Bone geometry; Multiaxial loading; Stress fracture

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