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    Patellar tendon properties with fluctuating menstrual cycle hormones

    Burgess, Katherine, Pearson, Stephen J. and Onambélé-Pearson, Gladys (2010) Patellar tendon properties with fluctuating menstrual cycle hormones. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24 (8). pp. 2088-2095. ISSN 1064-8011

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    Debate continues over whether skeletal muscle performance and injury risk vary over the course of the menstrual cycle. Alterations in tendon properties may play a role in the potential fluctuations of both of these variables. The aim of the current study was to determine any association between menstrual cycle phase and corresponding levels of female sex hormones and tendon properties. Fifteen normally menstruating (28-32-day cycles) healthy females (age 23 +/- 1 years, mass 63.1 +/- 2.6 kg, height 1.66 +/- 0.02 m) not taking any form of hormonal contraceptive took part in this study. In vivo patellar tendon properties and associated circulating hormonal levels were assessed on 3 occasions including days 3 +/- 0.4, 13 +/- 0.2, and 21 +/- 0.3. Dynamometry, ultrasonography, electromyography, and biochemical assessment of circulating levels of estradiol and progesterone were utilized. No significant differences were seen in tendon mechanical properties among the 3 phases of the menstrual cycle (p > 0.05). Regressions were carried out and revealed that estrogen and maximal voluntary tendon force explained 17.8% (p = 0.043) of the variance in young's modulus. Our findings link estrogen to a chronic, rather than an acute, impact on tendon behavior. These findings are relevant to clinical outcomes, exercise performance, and injury risk. In terms of tendon properties, menstrual cycle phase does not necessarily need to be considered when organizing training and competition schedules.

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