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01.12.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 1/2018

Archives of Osteoporosis 1/2018

Bone geometry in young male and female football players: a peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) study

Archives of Osteoporosis > Ausgabe 1/2018
Gabriel Lozano-Berges, Ángel Matute-Llorente, Alejandro Gómez-Bruton, Alex González-Agüero, Germán Vicente-Rodríguez, José A. Casajús
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11657-018-0472-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



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.

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