Health effects of wrist-loading sports during youth: A systematic literature review

Laura S. Kox, P. Paul F. M. Kuijer, Dagmar A. J. Thijssen, Gino M. M. J. Kerkhoffs, Rick R. van Rijn, Monique H. W. Frings-Dresen, Mario Maas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: The benefits and risks of performing popular wrist-loading sports at a young age have not been investigated systematically. We aimed to evaluate positive and negative long-Term wrist-related health effects of sports performance requiring repetitive wrist loading during youth. Methods: Six databases were searched for cohort and cross-sectional studies. Three investigators selected studies evaluating quantitatively measured health effects of upper extremities in athletes practicing wristloading sports (gymnastics, tennis, volleyball, field hockey, rowing, and judo) for minimally 4 months before the age of 18. Results: A total of 23 studies with 5 outcome measures, nearly all of moderate to good quality, were eligible for inclusion. Bone mineral density and bone mineral content were higher in athletes compared with controls and in tennis players' dominant arm. Mixed results were found for ulnar variance in gymnasts. Handgrip strength was greater in tennis players' dominant arm and in experienced gymnasts. Conclusions: Wrist-loading sports performance during youth can promote bone strength in wrists and dominant handgrip strength, but evidence on the lasting of these effects and on prevalence of wrist joint degeneration in former young athletes is limited. For better counseling of young athletes and their parents, future studies with increased comparability are essential, for which recommendations are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-720
JournalJournal of Physical Activity & Health
Volume15
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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