Author(s): Lotz JC, Hayes WC
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Abstract We conducted an in vitro investigation of the loads and energies needed to fracture the proximal part of the femur in twelve fresh cadavera under loading conditions simulating one particular type of fall. The fracture loads ranged from 778 to 4,040 newtons and the work to fracture, from five to fifty-one joules. We also investigated the relationship between the fracture loads and several potential indices of bone strength, which were measured non-invasively at the subcapital, basic-cervical, and intertrochanteric regions with quantitative computed tomography. A very high positive correlation with the fracture load resulted from use of an intertrochanteric index--the product of the average trabecular computed-tomography number and the total cross-sectional area of the bone (R2 = 0.93, standard error of estimate = 295 newtons, and p less than 0.00001). We expect the use of this parameter to result in improved assessments of the degree of osteoporosis and of the component of risk of fracture of the hip that is associated with bone strength. However, the measured work to fracture for the isolated femur was an order of magnitude smaller than estimates of the energy available during a typical fall (about 450 joules), suggesting that energy absorbed during falling and impact, rather than bone strength, may be the dominant factors in the biomechanics of fracture of the hip.
This article was published in J Bone Joint Surg Am
and referenced in Journal of Osteoporosis and Physical Activity