Int J Sports Med 2013; 34(08): 688-694
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1333213
Physiology & Biochemistry
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Bone Health of Apprentice Jockeys Using Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography

D. A. Greene
1   School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Strathfield, Australia
G. A. Naughton
1   School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Strathfield, Australia
C. B. Jander
2   Australian Racing Board, Sydney, Australia
S.-J. Cullen
3   School of Health & Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 26 November 2012

Publication Date:
31 January 2013 (online)


Our aim was to use Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT) to assess the bone health of male and female apprentice jockeys and age- and sex-matched peers. 2 groups of 25 young adults (n=50) (age range 15–38 years) were comprised of male and female apprentice jockeys, and male and female controls. We used pQCT to measure the distal tibia and distal radius. After covarying for weight and limb length, apprentice jockeys displayed less tibial cortical area and lower strength strain index at 14% distal shaft, 38% mid shaft and 66% proximal sites measured distally than controls (p=0.001). No between group differences were found in cortical density, trabecular area, and trabecular density at the tibia. Compared with controls, apprentice jockeys displayed greater trabecular density at the distal radial site (p=0.001), greater strength strain index at 66% proximal site measured distally (p=0.01), and a lower strength strain index at the distal radius (p=0.006). In conclusion, only trabecular density at the distal radius and strength strain index at the proximal radius were greater in apprentice jockeys than controls. Strategies to increase bone density and bone strength in apprentice jockeys should be considered by relevant industry stakeholders and their health providers.

  • References

  • 1 Aaron DJ, Kriska AM, Dearwater SR, Cauley JA, Metz KF, LaPorte RE. Reproducibility and validity of an epidemiologic questionnaire to assess past year physical activity in adolescents. Am J Epidemiol 1995; 142: 191-201
  • 2 Cumming RG, Cummings SR, Nevitt MC, Scott J, Ensrud KE, Vogt TM, Fox K. Calcium intake and fracture risk: results from the study of osteoporotic fractures. Am J Epidemiol 1993; 145: 926-934
  • 3 Courteix D, Lespessailles E, Jaffre C, Obert P, Benhamou CL. Bone material acquisition and somatic development in highly trained girl gymnasts. Acta Paediatr 1999; 88: 803-808
  • 4 CDC Growth Charts: United States National Center for Health Statistics 2004 Retrieved May 10th, 2009 from
  • 5 De Souza MJ, Williams NI. Beyond hypoestrogenism in amenorrheic athletes: energy deficiency as a contributing factor for bone loss. Curr Sports Med Rep 2005; 4: 38-44
  • 6 Dolan E, McGoldrick A, Davenport C, Kelleher G, Byrne B, Tormey W, Smith D, Warrington G. An altered hormonal profile and elevated rate of bone loss are associated with low bone mass in professional horse-racing jockeys. J Bone Miner Metab 2012; 30: 534-542
  • 7 Dolan E, Crabtree N, McGoldrick A, Ashley DT, McCaffery N, Warrington GD. Weight regulation and bone mass: a comparison between professional jockeys, elite amateur boxers, and age, gender and BMI matched controls. J Bone Miner Metab 2012; 30: 164-170
  • 8 Dowthwaite JN, Hickman RM, Kanaley JA, Ploutz-Snyder RJ, Spadaro JA, Scerpella TA. Distal radius strength: a comparison of DXA-derived vs pQCT-measured parameters in adolescent females. J Clin Densitom 2009; 12: 42-53
  • 9 Ducher G, Tournaire N, Meddahi-Pelle A, Benhamou CL, Courteix D. Short-term and long-term site-specific effects of tennis playing on trabecular and cortical bone at the distal radius. J Bone Miner Metab 2006; 24: 484-490
  • 10 Duke PM, Litt IF, Gross RT. Adolescents’ self-assessment of sexual maturation. Paediatr 1980; 66: 918-920
  • 11 Fielsler CM. The Female Runner. In: O’Connor FG, Wilder RP. (eds.). Textbook of Running Medicine. New York: McGraw Hill; 2001: 435-446
  • 12 Frost HM. Bone “mass” and the “mechanostat”: a proposal. Anat Rec 1987; 219: 1-9
  • 13 Greene DA, Naughton G, Briody J, Kemp A, Woodhead H, Corrigan L. Bone strength index in adolescent females: Does physical activity make a difference?. Br J Sports Med 2005; 39: 622-627
  • 14 Harriss DJ, Atkinson G. Update – ethical standards in sport and exercise science research. Int J Sports Med 2011; 32: 819-821
  • 15 Heinonen A, Sievanen H, Kannus P, Oja P, Vuori I. Site-specific skeletal response to long-term weight training seems to be attributable to principal loading modality: a pQCT study of female weightlifters. Calcif Tissue Int 2002; 70: 469-474
  • 16 Hernandez CJ, Beaupre GS, Carter DR. A theoretical analysis of the relative influences of peak BMD, age-related bone loss and menopause on the development of osteoporosis. Osteoporos Int 2003; 14: 843-847
  • 17 Hitchens PL, Blizzard CL, Jones G, Daly L, Fell J. Predictors of race-day jockey falls in flat racing in Australia. Occup Environ Med 2010 doi: DOI: 10.1136/oem.2009.050567.
  • 18 Iwamoto J, Shimamura C, Takeda T, Abe H, Ichimura S, Sato Y, Toyama Y. Effects of treadmill exercise on bone mass, bone metabolism, and calciotropic hormones in young growing rats. J Bone Miner Res 2004; 22: 26-31
  • 19 Jones KL. A validation study of early adolescents’ pubertal self-assessments. J Early Adolescence 2004; 24: 357-384
  • 20 Karlsson MK. Does exercise during growth prevent fractures in later life?. In: Daly RM, Petit MA. (eds.). Optimizing Bone Mass and Strength: The Role of Physical Activity and Nutrition During Growth. Basel Switzerland: S Karger AG; 2007: 121-136
  • 21 Khan K, Liu-Ambrose T, Sran M, Ashe MC, Donaldson MG, Wark JD. New criteria for female athlete triad syndrome? As osteoporosis is rare, should osteopenia be among the criteria for defining the female athlete triad syndrome? Br J Sports Med 2002; 36: 10-13
  • 22 Leydon MA, Wall C. New Zealand jockeys’ dietary habits and their potential impact on health. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2002; 12: 220-237
  • 23 Lochmuller EM, Miller P, Burklein D, Wehr U, Rambeck W, Eckstein F. In situ femoral dual-energy absoprtiometry related to ash weight, bone size and density, and its relationship with mechanical failure loads of the proximal femur. Osteoporos Int 2000; 11: 361-367
  • 24 Matkovic V, Ilich JZ. Calcium requirements for growth: are current recommendations adequate?. Nutr Rev 1993; 51: 71-180
  • 25 McCrory P, Turner M, LeMasson B, Bodere C, Allemandou A. An analysis of injuries resulting from professional horse racing in France during 1991–2001: a comparison with injuries resulting from professional horse racing in Great Britain during 1992–2001. Br J Sports Med 2006; 40: 614-618
  • 26 Moore JM, Timperio AF, Crawford DA, Cameron-Smith D. Weight management and weight loss strategies of professional jockeys. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2002; 12: 1-13
  • 27 Neu CM, Rauch F, Rittweger J, Manz F, Schonau E. Influence of puberty on muscle development at the forearm. Am J Physiol 2002; 283: E103-E107
  • 28 Nikander R, Sievanen H, Uusi-Rasi K, Heinonen A, Kannus P. Loading modalities and bone structures at nonweight-bearing upper extremity and weight-bearing lower extremity: A pQCT study of adult female athletes. Bone 2006; 39: 886-894
  • 29 Norton K, Olds T. Anthropometrica. Sydney: UNSW Press; 1996: 110
  • 30 Peat JK, Mellis C, Williams K. Health Science Research: A Handbook of Quantitative Methods. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin; 2002
  • 31 Rauch F, Schonau E. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography of the proximal radius in young subjects – New reference data and interpretation of results. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact 2008; 8: 226-271
  • 32 Rauch F, Schonau E. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography of the proximal radius in young subjects – New reference data and interpretation of results. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact 2005; 5: 119-126
  • 33 Rittweger J, Beller G, Ehrig J, Jung C, Koch U, Ramolla J, Schmidt F, Newitt D, Majumdar S. Bone-muscle strength indices for the human lower leg. Bone 2000; 27: 319-326
  • 34 Tanner TM. Growth at Adolescence. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications; 1968: 85-87
  • 35 Sundgot-Borgen J. Prevalence of eating disorders in elite athletes. Int J Sport Nutr 1993; 3: 29-40
  • 36 Waldron-Lynch F, Murray BF, Brady JJ, McKenna MJ, McGoldrick A, Warrington G, O’Loughlin G, Barragry JM. High bone turnover in Irish professional jockeys. Osteoporos Int 2009; 21: 521-525
  • 37 Warren M, Brooks-Gunn J, Fox R, Holderness CC, Hyle EP, Hamilton WG. Osteopenia in exercise-associated amenorrhea using ballet dancers as a model: a longitudinal study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002; 87: 3162-3168
  • 38 Warrington G, Dolan E, McGoldrick A, McEvoy J, MacManus C, Griffin M, Lyons D. Chronic weight control impacts on physiological function and bone health in elite jockeys. J Sports Sci 2009; 27: 543-550
  • 39 Warrington GD, MacManus C, Griffin MG, McGoldrick PA, Lyons D. Bone mineral density and body composition characteristics of top level jockeys. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2006; 38: 246-246