Direction-Specific Diaphyseal Geometry and Mineral Mass Distribution of Tibia and Fibula: A pQCT Study of Female Athletes Representing Different Exercise Loading Types
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Bones adapt to prevalent loading, which comprises mainly forces caused by muscle contractions. Therefore, we hypothesized that similar associations would be observed between neuromuscular performance and rigidity of bones located in the same body segment. These associations were assessed among 221 premenopausal women representing athletes in high-impact, odd-impact, high-magnitude, repetitive low-impact, and repetitive nonimpact sports and physically active referents aged 17–40 years. The whole group mean age and body mass were 23 (5) and 63 (9) kg, respectively. Bone cross sections at the tibial and fibular mid-diaphysis were assessed with peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Density-weighted polar section modulus (SSI) and minimal and maximal cross-sectional moments of inertia (Imin, Imax) were analyzed. Bone morphology was described as the Imax/Imin ratio. Neuromuscular performance was assessed by maximal power during countermovement jump (CMJ). Tibial SSI was 31% higher in the high-impact, 19% in the odd-impact, and 30% in the repetitive low-impact groups compared with the reference group (P < 0.005). Only the high-impact group differed from the referents in fibular SSI (17%, P < 0.005). Tibial morphology differed between groups (P = 0.001), but fibular morphology did not (P = 0.247). The bone-by-group interaction was highly significant (P < 0.001). After controlling for height, weight, and age, the CMJ peak power correlated moderately with tibial SSI (r = 0.31, P < 0.001) but not with fibular SSI (r = 0.069, P = 0.313). In conclusion, observed differences in the association between neuromuscular performance and tibial and fibular traits suggest that the tibia and fibula experience different loading environments despite their anatomical vicinity.
KeywordsSkeletal adaptation Young adult Bone rigidity Bone geometry Muscle
This study was financially supported by Competitive Research Funding of the Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere University Hospital (grant 9K121); the Finnish Ministry of Education; the Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation; and the TBGS National Graduate School of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Biomaterials.
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