Aim of the study

The aim of this research study is to identify genetic polymorphisms that contribute to increased risk of, or protection from tendon and bone injuries sustained through participation in physical activity. This knowledge will be used to develop programs for the prevention of injury in sport and physical activity.

Study summary

Participation in physical activity has been shown to be extremely beneficial to health however; participation in both recreational and competitive sports increases the risk of acquiring injuries of both the soft tissues and bones. The cost of sports injuries in Australia was estimated at $1.65 billion a year (Orchard & Finch, 2002). At the elite level, the occurrence of these exercise-induced injuries are common and can prevent athletes from both training and competing, limiting the progress of some athletes to top level competition (Palmer-Green, 2103). Sporting success at the international level is significantly impacted by loss of training and competition time through injury. Research that examines new approaches to reducing the number of days lost to training through injury or illness and research that examines mechanisms that have the potential to change injury or illness management are a priority for the Australian elite sport sector. Identification of factors predisposing athletes to injury will allow coaches to customise training loads for individuals, according to injury susceptibility. Clinicians will be able to administer preventative, evidence-based interventions to reduce the rate of athlete injury.

This research study will focus on the role of genetics in exercise-induced injuries. Understanding genetic risk of or protection from exercise-induced injuries of the tendon and bone will allow coaches, trainers, physicians and physical therapists to develop training programs that account for such conditions. This study aims to identify genetic polymorphisms (genetic variation resulting in different biochemical characteristics) that contribute to increased risk of, or protection from tendon and bone injuries sustained through participation in physical activity. The proposed study will provide world-first evidence regarding the association between genetic polymorphisms and susceptibility to exercise-induced bony stress injuries.

With advancements in molecular biology, the use of personalised medicine to prevent and treat exercise-related medical conditions will become a reality. Understanding genetic risk of or protection from exercise-induced injuries of the tendon and bone will allow coaches, trainers, physicians and physical therapists to develop training programs that account for such conditions. In addition, identification of genetic polymorphisms in relation to bone and tendon health may give rise to further research into potential causes, therapies, personalised training strategies and diagnostic tools in the field of bone and tendon injuries.

Project team

This study will be led by Dr David Hughes and the team at the AIS including Dr Nicole Vlahovich, with input from all partners in the CRN.

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Submissions from 2017

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The genetics of running-induced injuries involving tendon and bone – epidemiological study, Silvia Manzanero, Maria Kozlovskaia, Nicole Vlahovich, and Rebecca Grealy

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The genetics of running-induced injuries involving tendon and bone – genetic study, Silvia Manzanero, Maria Kozlovskaia, Nicole Vlahovich, and Rebecca Grealy