Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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28 October 2008 - PR 08/153

Female athletes needed for bone health study

New research by Loughborough University and the English Institute of Sport is hoping to discover why endurance athletes are more susceptible to stress fractures.

Although athletes are extremely fit they are more likely to sustain injuries, with stress fractures being amongst the most common. These types of fractures typically occur in weight-bearing bones, such as the tibia/fibula (bones of the lower leg) and metatarsals (bones of the foot). As many as one in five athletes in some sports can be affected by such injuries each year.

The study, being led by Dr Katherine Brooke-Wavell and Rachel Duckham from the University’s Department of Human Sciences and Dr Nick Peirce from the English Institute of Sport East Midlands, is focussing on female athletes. They are looking for female endurance runners and triathletes of a high athletic standard aged between 18 and 45 to take part in the research. Volunteers would have to attend three one-hour visits to the University over a 12 month period, where they would fill out questionnaires and undergo bone scans and muscle function tests.

Speaking about the research Rachel Duckham said: “We see this study as a means to help fully understand the factors which cause stress fractures in athletes, and to do this we need the help of the country’s top class and developing endurance athletes.

“We would not ask volunteers to make any changes to their training or lifestyle; in fact we want them to continue as normal. In return for taking part, we will provide athletes with information on their bone health and body composition, and can analyse blood haemoglobin levels on request.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the study should contact Rachel Duckham, by emailing R.L.Duckham@lboro.ac.uk, or call 01509 228159. Alternatively you can email Dr Katherine Brooke-Wavell at K.S.F.Brooke-wavell@lboro.ac.uk

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Judy Wing
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.L.Wing@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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