Cross-Sectional Study of Weight-Bearing Activity on Proximal Femur Bone Mineral Density
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In this cross-sectional study we investigated the effect of compressive and tensile forces applied on the proximal femur during weight-bearing activities. Ninety-seven men (29.9 ± 1.7 years) were divided into two groups: 69 exercisers who had practiced regular high-impact weight-bearing activities for at least 5 years and 28 controls who had been sedentary for at least 5 years. The maximum isometric hip abduction strength was measured. The bone mineral density (BMD) of the femoral neck and the greater trochanter was assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Controls were considered as the reference population to calculate the Z score. Mean BMD values of the femoral neck were 0.97 g/cm2 on both sides in the exercisers and 0.83 g/cm2 on the right side and 0.84 g/cm2 on the left side in the controls. Mean BMD values of the greater trochanter were 0.86 g/cm2 on the right side and 0.87 g/cm2 on the left side in the exercisers, 0.73 g/cm2 on the right side and 0.72 g/cm2 on the left side in the controls. The BMD was significantly higher in exercisers at both trochanteric and cervical sites (P= 0.0001). Both left and right hip abduction strength was significantly greater in the exercisers than in the controls (P < 0.05) and was positively correlated to cervical and trochanteric BMD (P < 0.01). In the exerciser group, the trochanteric Z score was higher than the cervical Z score at both right (P= 0.06) and left (P= 0.002) sides. Therefore, the proximal femoral BMD was significantly greater in exercised subjects as compared with sedentary controls. The difference was observed at the level of both the femoral neck (where it is known anatomically that only compressive gravitational forces are exerted) and the greater trochanter (where it is known that tensile forces are exerted). This result suggests the participation of both compressive and tensile forces in the mechanisms by which exercise influences bone trophicity.
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