To date, there has not been a direct examination of the effect that tissue composition (lean mass/muscle, fat mass, bone mineral content) differences between males and females has on how the tibia responds to impacts similar to those seen during running. To evaluate this, controlled heel impacts were imparted to 36 participants (6 M and 6 F in each of low, medium and high percent body fat [BF] groups) using a human pendulum. A skin-mounted accelerometer medial to the tibial tuberosity was used to determine the tibial response parameters (peak acceleration, acceleration slope and time to peak acceleration). There were no consistent effects of BF or specific tissue masses on the un-normalized tibial response parameters. However, females experienced 25% greater peak acceleration than males. When normalized to lean mass, wobbling mass, and bone mineral content, females experienced 50%, 62% and 70% greater peak acceleration, respectively, per gram of tissue than males. Higher magnitudes of lean mass and bone mass significantly contributed to decreased acceleration responses in general.
Keywords: lower extremity, body composition, sex differences