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Menstrual cycle and knee joint position sense in healthy female athletes

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of menstrual cycle on knee joint position sense (JPS) in healthy female athletes.

Methods

Sixteen healthy female athletes participated in this study. Serum estrogen and progesterone levels were collected during the three phases of menstrual cycle. The knee JPS was also measured during the same phases using a system comprise of skin markers, digital photography, and AutoCAD software. Absolute angular errors were calculated as well as changes in hormone levels between the three phases.

Results

Serum estrogen concentration was significantly higher during the mid-luteal (179.5 Pg/ml) and mid-follicular (125.6 Pg/ml) phases as compared with the early-follicular (menses) (22.8 Pg/ml) phase (P = 0.0001). Also serum progesterone concentration was significantly higher during the mid-luteal phase (7.35 Ng/ml) as compared with the menses (0.58 Ng/ml) and mid-follicular (0.5 Ng/ml) phases (P = 0.0001). The greatest amount of mean (SD) value of absolute error was at menses (4.2°), and the least amount of it was at mid-luteal (2.5°) phase. Also, a significant difference was observed within three phases of menstrual cycle (P = 0.025).

Conclusion

The result of this study suggests that healthy female athletes have different levels of knee JPS across a menstrual cycle. JPS accuracy decreases in menses, when circulating sex-hormones levels are low. Therefore, female athletes are at higher risk of injury at menses and improving their awareness regarding the knee injury risk factors can be a fundamental step toward preventing injuries.

Level of evidence

Case series, Level IV.

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Acknowledgments

The study was funded by Faculty of Rehabilitation, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (Grant No: 89043211693) and Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any potential conflict of interest to declare.

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Correspondence to Nasrin Naseri.

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Fouladi, R., Rajabi, R., Naseri, N. et al. Menstrual cycle and knee joint position sense in healthy female athletes. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 20, 1647–1652 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-011-1811-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-011-1811-7

Keywords

  • Knee joint
  • Joint position sense
  • Menstrual cycle