Background: The distribution pattern of subchondral bone density is an indicator of stress distribution over a joint surface under long-term physiologic loading. The biomechanical characteristics of the articular surfaces of the shoulder joint in gymnasts can be determined by measuring this distribution pattern. Purpose: To evaluate the distribution of subchondral bone density across the shoulder joint in male collegiate gymnasts and to determine the effects of gymnastic activities on its articular surfaces under long-term loading conditions using computed tomography osteoabsorptiometry (CTOAM). Study Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Methods: CT image data were obtained from both shoulders of 12 asymptomatic male collegiate gymnasts (gymnast group; mean age, 19.4 years; range, 18-22 years) and 10 male collegiate volunteers (control group; mean age, 20.2 years; range, 18-22 years). The distribution pattern of subchondral bone density across the articular surfaces of each shoulder joint was assessed by CTOAM. Quantitative analysis was performed of the locations and percentages of high-density areas on the articular surface. Results: Stress distribution patterns over the articular surfaces differed between the gymnasts and the controls. In the gymnasts, high-density areas were detected on the posterosuperior articular surface of the humeral head and the anterosuperior and/or posterosuperior articular surface of the glenoid. Mean bone density was greater in the gymnasts than in the controls (P <.0001). Conclusion: Stress distribution over the articular surfaces of the shoulder joint was affected by gymnastic activities. Stress was concentrated over the superior part of the glenohumeral joint in male collegiate gymnasts. Clinical Relevance: The present findings suggest that gymnastic activities increase stress to the articular surfaces of the superior glenohumeral joint. This supports the notion that mechanical conditions play a crucial role in the origin of disorders particular to gymnastic activities.
- CT osteoabsorptiometry
- stress distribution
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine