Greater maintenance of bone mineral content in male than female athletes and in sprinting and jumping than endurance athletes: a longitudinal study of bone strength in elite masters athletes

Alex Ireland, Uwe Mittag, Hans Degens, Dieter Felsenberg, José L. Ferretti, Ari Heinonen, Erika Koltai, Marko T. Korhonen, Jamie S. McPhee, Igor Mekjavic, Jessica Piasecki, Rado Pisot, Zsolt Radak, Bostjan Simunic, Harri Suominen, Désirée C. Wilks, Keith Winwood, Jörn Rittweger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Summary: We investigated longitudinal changes in tibia bone strength in master power (jumping and sprinting) and endurance (distance) athletes of both sexes. Bone mass but not cross-sectional moment of inertia was better maintained in power than endurance athletes over time, particularly in men and independent of changes in performance. Objective: Assessment of effects of sex and athletic discipline (lower limb power events, e.g. sprint running and jumping versus endurance running events) on longitudinal changes in bone strength in masters athletes. Methods: We examined tibia and fibula bone properties at distal (4% distal-proximal tibia length) and proximal (66% length) sites using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) in seventy-one track and field masters athletes (30 male, 41 female, age at baseline 57.0 ± 12.2 years) in a longitudinal cohort study that included at least two testing sessions over a mean period of 4.2 ± 3.1 years. Effects of time, as well as time × sex and time × discipline interactions on bone parameters and calf muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), were examined. Results: Effects of time were sex and discipline-dependent, even following adjustment for enrolment age, sex and changes in muscle CSA and athletic performance. Male sex and participation in power events was associated with better maintenance of tibia bone mineral content (BMC, an indicator of bone compressive strength) at 4% and 66% sites. In contrast, there was no strong evidence of sex or discipline effects on cross-sectional moment of inertia (CSMI, an indicator of bone bending and torsional strength—P > 0.3 for interactions). Similar sex and discipline-specific changes were also observed in the fibula. Conclusions: Results suggest that male athletes and those participating in lower limb power-based rather than endurance-based disciplines have better maintenance of bone compressive but not bending and torsional strength.

Original languageEnglish
Article number87
JournalArchives of Osteoporosis
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1

Keywords

  • Ageing
  • Biomechanics
  • Bone geometry
  • Exercise
  • Osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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    Ireland, A., Mittag, U., Degens, H., Felsenberg, D., Ferretti, J. L., Heinonen, A., Koltai, E., Korhonen, M. T., McPhee, J. S., Mekjavic, I., Piasecki, J., Pisot, R., Radak, Z., Simunic, B., Suominen, H., Wilks, D. C., Winwood, K., & Rittweger, J. (2020). Greater maintenance of bone mineral content in male than female athletes and in sprinting and jumping than endurance athletes: a longitudinal study of bone strength in elite masters athletes. Archives of Osteoporosis, 15(1), [87]. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11657-020-00757-w