Exercise loading and cortical bone distribution at the tibial shaft

Bone. 2011 Apr 1;48(4):786-91. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2010.11.013. Epub 2010 Nov 30.


Cortical bone is not a uniform tissue, and its apparent density [cortical volumetric density (vBMD)] varies around the bone cross-section as well as along the axial length of the bone. It is not yet known, whether the varying vBMD distribution is attributable to modulation in the predominant loads affecting bone. The aim of the present study was to compare the cortical bone mass distribution through the bone cortex (radial distribution) and around the center of mass (polar distribution) among 221 premenopausal women aged 17-40 years representing athletes involved in high impact, odd impact, high magnitude, repetitive low impact, repetitive non-impact sports and leisure time physical activity (referent controls). Bone cross-sections at the tibial mid-diaphysis were assessed with pQCT. Radial and polar vBMD distributions were analyzed in three concentric cortical divisions within the cortical envelope and in four cortical sectors originating from the center of the bone cross-section. MANCOVA, including age as a covariate, revealed no significant group by division/sector interaction in either radial or polar distribution, but the mean vBMD values differed between groups (P<0.001). The high and odd-impact groups had 1.2 to 2.6% (P<0.05) lower cortical vBMD than referents, in all analyzed sectors/divisions. The repetitive, low-impact group had 0.4 to 1.0% lower (P<0.05) vBMD at the mid and outer cortical regions and at the anterior sector of the tibia. The high magnitude group had 1.2% lower BMD at the lateral sector (P<0.05). The present results generate a hypothesis that the radial and polar cortical bone vBMD distributions within the tibial mid-shaft are not modulated by exercise loading but the mean vBMD level is slightly affected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bone Density
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology
  • Tibia / physiology*
  • Young Adult