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Bone strength is related to muscle volume in ambulant individuals with bilateral spastic cerebral palsy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-255
Early online date29 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

King's Authors



The aim of this study is to investigate how bone strength in the distal femur and proximal tibia are related to local muscle volume in ambulant individuals with bilateral spastic cerebral palsy (CP).


Twenty-seven participants with CP (mean age: 14.6 ± 2.9 years; Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I-III) and twenty-two typically developing (TD) peers (mean age: 16.7 ± 3.3 years) took part in this study. Periosteal and medullary diameter in the distal femur and cortical bone cross-sectional area (CSA) and thickness (CT) in the distal femur and proximal tibia were measured along with nine lower limb muscle volumes using MRI. Additionally, the polar section modulus (Zp) and buckling ratio (BR) were calculated to estimate bone bending strength and compressional bone stability respectively in the distal femur. The relationships of all measured parameters with muscle volume, height, age, body mass, gender, and subject group were investigated using a generalized linear model (GZLM).


In the distal femur, Zp was significantly positively related to thigh muscle volume (p = 0.007), and height (p = 0.026) but not significantly related to subject group (p = 0.076) or body mass (p = 0.098). BR was not significantly different between groups and was not related to any of the variables tested. Cortical bone CSA was significantly lower in the CP group at both the distal femur (p = 0.002) and proximal tibia (p = 0.009). It was also positively associated with thigh muscle volume (p < 0.001) at the distal femur, and with subject height (p = 0.005) at the proximal tibia.


Bending and compressional strength of the femur, estimated from Zp and cortical bone CSA respectively, is associated with reduced thigh muscle volume. Increasing muscle volume by strength training may have a positive effect on bone mechanics in individuals with CP.

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