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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1990 May;72(3):370-5.

Experimental stress fractures of the tibia. Biological and mechanical aetiology in rabbits.

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West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, Morgantown 26506.


We have shown that stress fractures can be induced in the tibial diaphysis of an animal model by the repeated application of non-traumatic impulsive loads. The right hind limbs of 31 rabbits were loaded for three to nine weeks and changes in the bone were monitored by radiography and bone scintigraphy. The presence of stress fractures was confirmed histologically in some cases. Most animals sustained a stress fracture within six weeks and there was a positive correspondence between scintigraphic change and radiological evidence. Microscopic damage was evident at the sites of positive bone scans. The progression, location, and time of onset of stress fractures in this animal model were similar to those in clinical reports, making the model a useful one for the study of the aetiology of stress fractures.

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