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Patellar Tendon Properties With Fluctuating Menstrual Cycle Hormones

Burgess, Katherine E1; Pearson, Stephen J1; Onambélé, Gladys L2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 8 - pp 2088-2095
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181aeb12b
Original Research
Press Release

Burgess, KE, Pearson, SJ, and Onambélé, GL. Patellar tendon properties with fluctuating menstrual cycle hormones. J Strength Cond Res 24(8): 2088-2095, 2010-Debate continues over whether skeletal muscle performance and injury risk vary over the course of the menstrual cycle. Alterations in tendon properties may play a role in the potential fluctuations of both of these variables. The aim of the current study was to determine any association between menstrual cycle phase and corresponding levels of female sex hormones and tendon properties. Fifteen normally menstruating (28-32-day cycles) healthy females (age 23 ± 1 years, mass 63.1 ± 2.6 kg, height 1.66 ± 0.02 m) not taking any form of hormonal contraceptive took part in this study. In vivo patellar tendon properties and associated circulating hormonal levels were assessed on 3 occasions including days 3 ± 0.4, 13 ± 0.2, and 21 ± 0.3. Dynamometry, ultrasonography, electromyography, and biochemical assessment of circulating levels of estradiol and progesterone were utilized. No significant differences were seen in tendon mechanical properties among the 3 phases of the menstrual cycle (p > 0.05). Regressions were carried out and revealed that estrogen and maximal voluntary tendon force explained 17.8% (p = 0.043) of the variance in young's modulus. Our findings link estrogen to a chronic, rather than an acute, impact on tendon behavior. These findings are relevant to clinical outcomes, exercise performance, and injury risk. In terms of tendon properties, menstrual cycle phase does not necessarily need to be considered when organizing training and competition schedules.

1Centre for Rehabilitation and Human Performance Research, Directorate of Sport, University of Salford, Manchester, England, United Kingdom; and 2Department of Exercise & Sport Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, Alsager, England, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Gladys Onambélé (Pearson), g.pearson@mmu.ac.uk.

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association