Bone geometry in young male and female football players: a peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) study
The present study shows that football practice during growth may improve bone geometry in male and female football players. However, only females had better bone strength in comparison with controls.
The aim of this study was to compare bone geometry in adolescent football players and controls.
A total of 107 football players (71 males/36 females; mean age 12.7 ± 0.6/12.7 ± 0.6 years) and 42 controls (20 males/22 females; mean age 13.1 ± 1.4/12.7 ± 1.3 years) participated in this study. Total and trabecular volumetric bone mineral content (Tt.BMC/Tb.BMC), cross-sectional area (Tt.Ar/Tb.Ar), and bone strength index (BSI) were measured at 4% site of the non-dominant tibia by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Moreover, Tt.BMC, cortical BMC (Ct.BMC), Tt.Ar, cortical Ar (Ct.Ar), cortical thickness (Ct.Th), periosteal circumference (PC), endosteal circumference (EC), fracture load in X-axis, and polar strength strain index (SSIp) were measured at 38% site of the tibia. Multivariate analyses of covariance were used to compare bone pQCT variables between football players and controls using the tibia length and maturity offset as covariates.
Female football players demonstrated 13.8–16.4% higher BSI, Ct.Th, fracture load in X-axis, and SSIp than controls (p < .0036). Males showed no significant differences in bone strength when compared to controls (p > .0036). In relation to bone mineral content and area, male football players showed 8.8% higher Tt.Ar and Tb.Ar at the 4% site of the tibia when compared to controls; whereas 13.8–15.8% higher Tt.BMC, Ct.BMC, and Ct.Ar at the 38% site of the tibia were found in female football players than controls (p < .0036).
In this study, female adolescent football players presented better bone geometry and strength values than controls. In contrast, only bone geometry was higher in male football players than controls.
KeywordsSoccer Body composition Bone health Youth
The authors want to thank all the children, their parents, and football clubs (Real Zaragoza S.A.D.; Los Molinos U.D.; C.D. Marianistas; C.D. Transportes Alcaine and S.D. Ejea) that participated in the study for their understanding and dedication to the project. The authors also thank Adam Bracey for his work reviewing the English style and grammar.
This work was supported by the Spanish “Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad” (Project DEP 2012-32724)’. GLB received a grant FPU 2013 (FPU13/02111) from the “Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte”. AML received a grant (AP2012/02854) from the “Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte”. AGB received a grant FPI 2012 (BES-2012-051888) from the “Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad”.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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