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Bone quality in the lumbar spine in high-performance athletes

Abstract

Little is known about the influence of high-performance training on the bone quality of the lumbar spine, in particular, the effects on bone mineral density (BMD) in athletes with high weight-bearing demands on the spine. Measurements were therefore performed in internationally top-ranked high-performance athletes of different disciplines (weight lifters, boxers, and endurance-cyclists). The measurements were carried out by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and the results compared with the measurements of 21 age-matched male controls. The BMD of the high-performance weight lifters was greater than that of the controls by 24% (0.252 g/cm2) on the AP view and by 23% (0.200 g/cm2) on the lateral view (P<0.01), while difference in BMD between the boxers and the controls was+17% (0.174 g/cm2) on the AP view and +19% (0.174 g/cm2) on the lateral view. The BMD of the lumbar spine in all endurance cyclists was lower than that in the controls (AP view-10%, 0.105 g/cm2; lateral view-8%, 0.067 g/cm2; P>0.05). The results show that training program stressing axial loads of the skeleton may lead to a significant increase of BMD in the lumbar spine of young individuals. Other authors' findings that the BMD of endurance athletes may decrease are confirmed. Nevertheless the 10% BMD loss of cyclists was surprisingly high.

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Sabo, D., Bernd, L., Pfeil, J. et al. Bone quality in the lumbar spine in high-performance athletes. Eur Spine J 5, 258–263 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00301329

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00301329

Key words

  • Bone mineral density
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • High-performance athletes
  • Osteoporosis treatment
  • Osteoporosis prevention