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Cartilage abnormalities and osteophytes in the fingers of elite sport climbers: An ultrasonography-based cross-sectional study


Pastor, Torsten; Fröhlich, Stefan; Spörri, Jörg; Schreiber, Tonja; Schweizer, Andreas (2020). Cartilage abnormalities and osteophytes in the fingers of elite sport climbers: An ultrasonography-based cross-sectional study. European Journal of Sport Science, 20(2):269-276.

Abstract

The impact of extensive loads on the cartilage of the proximal interphalangeal- (PIP) and distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints of the fingers in elite sport climbers are relatively unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in the cartilage of the PIP and DIP joints as well as the existence of osteophytes, in fingers of elite sport climbers with a minimum of 15 years of climbing history. Thirty-one elite male sport climbers and 20 male non-climbers volunteered for the current cross-sectional observation. By means of ultrasonography, the thickness of cartilage of the PIP and DIP joints in a sagittal and frontal plane of the digits II to V of both hands, as well as the existence of osteophytes on the dorsal aspect of the phalanges were assessed. The main results were: (1) cartilage thickness revealed to be significantly greater in climbers than non-climbers,; (2) larger cartilage thickness differences were found at the DIP joints; (3) while climbers showed a substantial occurrence of osteophytes with highest relative frequencies at Dig III, in the group of non-climbers no osteophytes were observed; (4) small to moderate correlations were found between the cartilage and osteophyte thickness of climbers at the PIP and DIP joints and Dig III. In conclusion, an accumulation of repetitive climbing-related stress to the fingers of elite sport climbers over the career may induce degenerative changes at the PIP and DIP joints.

Abstract

The impact of extensive loads on the cartilage of the proximal interphalangeal- (PIP) and distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints of the fingers in elite sport climbers are relatively unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in the cartilage of the PIP and DIP joints as well as the existence of osteophytes, in fingers of elite sport climbers with a minimum of 15 years of climbing history. Thirty-one elite male sport climbers and 20 male non-climbers volunteered for the current cross-sectional observation. By means of ultrasonography, the thickness of cartilage of the PIP and DIP joints in a sagittal and frontal plane of the digits II to V of both hands, as well as the existence of osteophytes on the dorsal aspect of the phalanges were assessed. The main results were: (1) cartilage thickness revealed to be significantly greater in climbers than non-climbers,; (2) larger cartilage thickness differences were found at the DIP joints; (3) while climbers showed a substantial occurrence of osteophytes with highest relative frequencies at Dig III, in the group of non-climbers no osteophytes were observed; (4) small to moderate correlations were found between the cartilage and osteophyte thickness of climbers at the PIP and DIP joints and Dig III. In conclusion, an accumulation of repetitive climbing-related stress to the fingers of elite sport climbers over the career may induce degenerative changes at the PIP and DIP joints.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Health Sciences > Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
Language:English
Date:7 February 2020
Deposited On:07 Feb 2020 17:09
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 13:26
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1536-7290
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2019.1631389
PubMed ID:31184978

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