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Greater maintenance of bone mineral content in male than female athletes and in sprinting and jumping than endurance athletes: a longitudinal study of bone strength in elite masters athletes.

Ireland, Alex and Mittag, Uwe and Degens, Hans and Felsenberg, Dieter and Ferretti, José L and Heinonen, Ari and Koltai, Erika and Korhonen, Marko T and McPhee, Jamie S and Mekjavic, Igor and Piasecki, Jessica and Pisot, Rado and Radak, Zsolt and Simunic, Bostjan and Suominen, Harri and Wilks, Désirée C and Winwood, Keith and Rittweger, Jörn (2020) Greater maintenance of bone mineral content in male than female athletes and in sprinting and jumping than endurance athletes: a longitudinal study of bone strength in elite masters athletes. Archives of Osteoporosis, 15 (1). p. 87. ISSN 1862-3522

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Abstract

We investigated longitudinal changes in tibia bone strength in master power (jumping and sprinting) and endurance (distance) athletes of both sexes. Bone mass but not cross-sectional moment of inertia was better maintained in power than endurance athletes over time, particularly in men and independent of changes in performance. OBJECTIVE:Assessment of effects of sex and athletic discipline (lower limb power events, e.g. sprint running and jumping versus endurance running events) on longitudinal changes in bone strength in masters athletes. METHODS:We examined tibia and fibula bone properties at distal (4% distal-proximal tibia length) and proximal (66% length) sites using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) in seventy-one track and field masters athletes (30 male, 41 female, age at baseline 57.0 ± 12.2 years) in a longitudinal cohort study that included at least two testing sessions over a mean period of 4.2 ± 3.1 years. Effects of time, as well as time × sex and time × discipline interactions on bone parameters and calf muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), were examined. RESULTS:Effects of time were sex and discipline-dependent, even following adjustment for enrolment age, sex and changes in muscle CSA and athletic performance. Male sex and participation in power events was associated with better maintenance of tibia bone mineral content (BMC, an indicator of bone compressive strength) at 4% and 66% sites. In contrast, there was no strong evidence of sex or discipline effects on cross-sectional moment of inertia (CSMI, an indicator of bone bending and torsional strength-P > 0.3 for interactions). Similar sex and discipline-specific changes were also observed in the fibula. CONCLUSIONS:Results suggest that male athletes and those participating in lower limb power-based rather than endurance-based disciplines have better maintenance of bone compressive but not bending and torsional strength.

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