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Med Sci Sports Exerc., 2013; 45(8): 1545-1552, PMID: 23470305

Side-to-Side Differences in the Lower Leg Muscle-Bone Unit in Male Soccer Players.

Year: 2013

Anliker E, Sonderegger A, Toigo M.
Exercise Physiology, Institute of Human Movement Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland;


Purpose: To characterize side-to-side differences in the lower leg muscle-bone unit between the non-dominant leg (NL) and the dominant leg (DL) using maximum voluntary forefoot ground reaction force (Fm1LH) during multiple one-legged hopping (m1LH), and tibial bone mass and geometry measured by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Methods: Sixtysix male high level soccer players (age range 12-18 years) performed m1LH to determine Fm1LH acting on the forefoot during landing for the NL and DL separately. pQCT scans were obtained to assess bone structural variables at 4, 14, 38 and 66% tibia length and calf muscle crosssectional area at the 66%-site. Results: First, participants displayed significant (P < 0.05) sideto-side differences in bone mass and geometry at 4, 14 and 38% (but not at the 66%-site) of tibia length, with higher values in NL relative to DL (+0.7 to +5.6%), most evident at the 14%-site. Second, no asymmetries were found for Fm1LH between the two legs (P = 0.442). Third, the relationship between Fm1LH and vBMC14% was strong for both NL and DL (R = 0.48 and R = 0.54, respectively), but side-to-side differences in Fm1LH (?Fm1LH) and side-to-side differences in vBMC14% (?vBMC14%) were not related (R = 0.04). Conclusions: Contrary to expectations from the mechanostat theory, ?Fm1LH and ?vBMC14% did not differ in proportion to each other. It appears that playing soccer is a well-balanced activity with respect to Fm1LH. However, the NL contributes to the supporting of the action of the DL, meaning that the loading experienced by the tibia might be more pronounced for the NL relative to the DL, leading to the observed higher bone strength values for the NL.

GID: 3215; Last update: 06.06.2013