European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 2, pp 327–333 | Cite as

Influence of endurance running on calcaneal bone stiffness in male and female runners

  • Beatriz Lara
  • Juan José Salinero
  • Jorge Gutiérrez
  • Francisco Areces
  • Javier Abián-Vicén
  • Diana Ruiz-Vicente
  • César Gallo-Salazar
  • Fernando Jiménez
  • Juan Del CosoEmail author
Original Article



The aim of this investigation was to determine the influence of endurance running on calcaneus bone stiffness in male and female runners.


A total of 122 marathoners (longer distance runners, men = 101; women = 21) and 81 half-marathon and 10-km runners (shorter distance runners; men = 48; women = 33), competing in an international running event, underwent an ultrasonographic assessment of the right and left calcaneus. Calcaneus bone stiffness was estimated using the measurements of the speed of sound (SOS) and broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA). Seventy-five age-matched sedentary people served as the control group.


Male and female longer distance runners and shorter distance runners presented higher values than sedentary counterparts in SOS (P < 0.05), and calcaneus stiffness (P < 0.05). Although there were no significant differences between longer distance and shorter distance runners in the ultrasonographic variables, longer distance runners presented greater effects size in SOS (1.00 vs 0.93 males; 1.10 vs 0.77 females), BUA (0.62 vs 0.25 males; 0.89 vs 0.20 females) and calcaneus stiffness (0.88 vs 0.66 males; 1.20 vs 0.60 females) than shorter distance endurance runners.


Calcaneus bone stiffness was higher in all endurance runners compared to a sedentary control population. The volume of ground reaction forces which occur during endurance running might induce the adaptation of the calcaneus bone.


Bone mass Running training Physical activity Exercise Mechanical loading 



Analysis of variance


Analysis of covariance


Broadband ultrasound attenuation


Standard deviation


Speed of sound



The authors wish to thank the subjects for their invaluable contribution to the study. In addition, we are very grateful to the Organization of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Madrid Marathon & ½ Marathon for their contribution to the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest derived from the outcomes of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beatriz Lara
    • 1
  • Juan José Salinero
    • 1
  • Jorge Gutiérrez
    • 1
  • Francisco Areces
    • 1
  • Javier Abián-Vicén
    • 1
  • Diana Ruiz-Vicente
    • 1
  • César Gallo-Salazar
    • 1
  • Fernando Jiménez
    • 2
  • Juan Del Coso
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Sports Science InstituteCamilo José Cela UniversityVillafranca del Castillo, MadridSpain
  2. 2.Performance and Sport Rehabilitation Laboratory, Sports Sciences FacultyUniversity of Castilla La ManchaAlbaceteSpain

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