Patient specific quantitative CT (QCT) imaging data together with the finite element (FE) method may provide an accurate prediction of a patient's femoral strength and fracture risk. Although numerous FE models investigating femoral fracture strength have been published, there is little consent on the effect of boundary conditions, dynamic loading and hydraulic strengthening due to intra-medullary pressure on the predicted fracture strength. We developed a QCT-derived FE model of a proximal femur that included node-specific modulus assigned based on the local bone density. The effect of three commonly used boundary conditions published in literature were investigated by comparing the resulting strain field due to an applied fracture load. The models were also augmented with viscoelastic material properties and subject to a realistic impact load profile to determine the effect of dynamic loads on the strain field. Finally, the effect of hydraulic strengthening was investigated by including node specific permeability and performing a coupled pore diffusion and stress analysis of the FE model. Results showed that all boundary conditions yield the same strain field patterns, but peak strains were 22% lower and fracture load was 18% higher when loaded at the greater trochanter than when loaded at the femoral head. Comparison of the dynamic models showed that material viscoelasticity was important, but inertial effects (vibration and shock) were not. Finally, pore pressure changes did not cause significant hydraulic strengthening of bone under fall impact loading.

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Keywords Femoral fracture, Finite element analysis, Hydraulic stiffening, Impact loading
Persistent URL
Journal Journal of Biomechanics
Haider, I.T. (Ifaz T.), Speirs, A, & Frei, H. (2013). Effect of boundary conditions, impact loading and hydraulic stiffening on femoral fracture strength. Journal of Biomechanics, 46(13), 2115–2121. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.07.004