Basic Biomechanics of the Skeleton

  • W. C. Hayes


Bone is unique among structural materials in that it is self-repairing and can alter its properties and configuration in response to changes in mechanical demand (Hayes, 1979; Hayes and Snyder, 1981; Jowsey, 1977; Lane and Vigorita, 1983; Woo et al, 1981). Certain skeletal conditions such as osteoporosis can seriously compromise the structural integrity of the skeleton (Avioli, 1983; Jowsey, 1977). The associated reduction in bone mass gradually increases vulnerability to fracture, particularly of the femoral neck and vertebrae (Jowsey, 1977; Kelsey et al, 1978; Lane and Vigorita, 1983). The frequency of osteoporosis in the United States is well recognized, with 50% of women 45 years of age or older exhibiting radiographic evidence of osteoporosis of the lumbar spine (Kelsey et al, 1978). From 16–18 million women in the United States have a significant degree of vertebral atrophy and over 4 million women aged 50 years or older have osteoporosis severe enough to cause vertebral fractures. Epidemiologic studies suggest that from 15-30% of all white women in the United States develop symptomatic osteoporosis (Kelsey et al, 1978; Lane and Vigorita, 1983). Of approximately one million fractures experienced each year by women 45 years or older in the United States, about 700,000 are incurred by women with osteoporosis.


Compressive Strength Bone Tissue Cortical Bone Trabecular Bone Ultimate Tensile Strength 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

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  • W. C. Hayes

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