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Proximal Femoral Density Patterns are Consistent with Bicentric Joint Loads.

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  • 1Musculoskeletal Research Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, U.S.A.


We developed an alternate method for density-based load estimation and applied it to estimate hip joint load distributions for two femora. Two-dimensional finite element models were constructed from single energy quantitative computed tomography (QCT) data. Load estimation was performed using five loading regions on the femoral head. Within each loading region, individual nodal loads, normal to the local surface, were supplied as input to the load estimation. An optimization procedure independently adjusted individual nodal load magnitudes in each region, and the magnitudes of muscle forces on the greater trochanter, such that the applied tissue stimulus approached the reference stimulus throughout the model. Dominant estimated load resultant directions were generally consistent with published experimental data for loads during gait. The estimated loads also suggested that loads near the extremes of the articulating surface may be important (even required) for development and maintenance of normal bone architecture. Estimated load distributions within nearly all regions predicted bicentric loading patterns, which are consistent with observations of hip joint incongruity. Remodeling simulations with the estimated loads predicted density distributions with features qualitatively similar to the QCT data sets. This study illustrates how applications of density-based bone load estimation can improve understanding of dominant loading patterns in other bones and joints. The prediction of bicentric loading suggests a very fine level of local adaptation to details of joint loading.

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