Maximum Grip Strength Is Not Related to Bone Mineral Density of the Proximal Femur in Older Adults
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- Foley, K., Owings, T., Pavol, M. et al. Calcif Tissue Int (1999) 64: 291. doi:10.1007/s002239900621
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In the past decade there have been numerous publications reporting a significant and direct relationship between handgrip strength and bone mineral density (BMD) of the proximal femur in older adults. The present report challenges the appropriateness of the methods, and thus the conclusions used in these studies. Specifically, these studies failed to control for the concomitant influence of body weight on both BMD and muscle strength. In the present study, maximum handgrip strength was measured using a conventional hand-held hydraulic dynamometer. Bone mineral density of the proximal femur was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Using allometric scaling, the influence of body weight on the value of maximum handgrip strength was removed for the data of the women. A small, but significant relationship between BMD of the proximal femur and maximum handgrip strength was found that accounted for about 6% of the total variation. The relationship between BMD of the proximal femur and unscaled maximum handgrip strength was not significant for the men. The findings diminish the confidence in a protective effect of skeletal muscle on some nonadjacent skeletal structures and suggest that these relationships may benefit from being revisited. The results highlight the utility of allometric scaling in analyses in which the relationship between a physiological variable and a body dimension variable can be nonlinearly and simultaneously influenced by other body dimension variables that are not considered in the analysis and therefore are statistically uncontrolled.