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To explore differences in bone mineral density (BMD) between dominant and non-dominant hip within levels of sport impact. BMD was higher in the non-dominant hip in high-impact sports, whereas the dominant hip had increased BMD for low-impact sports. The side-to-side differences were relatively small and not clinically relevant. PURPOSE: It is unknown whether there is difference in BMD at the hip between dominant and non-dominant sides in young athletes. The aims of this study were to explore the dominant-non-dominant differences in hip BMD in young athletes participating in low- and high-impact sports and to assess the effect of ground force impact on BMD. METHODS: Data was collected on University of Oxford athletes and controls (CG) between 2016 and 2018. Athletes were classified into two groups: high-impact sports (HIG) and low-impact sports (LIG). Total and regional measurements of both hips' BMD were recorded using a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Linear regression method was used to assess differences in BMD between and within groups. RESULTS: One hundred ninety-four athletes (HIG: n = 89, LIG: n = 105) and 48 controls were included in this study. Total hip and femoral neck BMD was higher in athletes compared to the CG (p < 0.01), with HIG recording highest levels of BMD. The BMD difference between the dominant and non-dominant sides was significant in the LIG, with BMD being higher in the dominant side. Conversly, BMD was higher in the non-dominant hip within the HIG. However, the hip asymmetries were not clinically relevant (%BMD difference < 3%). A significant interaction between side and sport group on BMD was observed. CONCLUSIONS: High-impact sports had significantly higher BMD compared with low-impact sports and CG. BMD in the dominant hip was significantly higher for the LIG and lower in the HIG; however, differences were not clinically relevant.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Osteoporos

Publication Date





Bone density, DXA, Dominant foot, Hip, Sport, Absorptiometry, Photon, Athletes, Bone Density, Female, Functional Laterality, Hip, Humans, Male, Regression Analysis, Sports, Young Adult