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The importance of the elastic and plastic components of strain in tensile and compressive fatigue of human cortical bone in relation to orthopaedic biomechanics

Winwood, Keith L. and Zioupos, Peter and Currey, J. D. and Cotton, John R. and Taylor, Mark (2006) The importance of the elastic and plastic components of strain in tensile and compressive fatigue of human cortical bone in relation to orthopaedic biomechanics. Journal of musculoskeletal and neuronal interactions, 6 (2). pp. 134-141. ISSN 1108-7161

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Abstract

The longevity, success, or failure of an orthopaedic implant is dependent on its osseointegration especially within the initial six months of the initial surgery. The development of strains plays a crucial role in both bone modelling and remodelling. For remodelling, in particular, strains of substantial values are required to activate the osteoblastic and osteoclastic activity for the osseointegration of the implant. Bone, however, is subject to ‘damage’ when strain levels exceed a certain threshold level. Damage is manifested in the form of microcracks; it is linked to increased elastic strain amplitudes and is accompanied by the development of ‘plastic’ (irrecoverable, residual) strains. Such strains increase the likelihood for the implant to subside or loosen. The present study examines the rates (per cycle) by which these two components of strain (elastic and ‘plastic’) develop during fatigue cycling in two loading modes, tension and compression. The results of this study show that these strain rates depend on the applied stress in both loading modes. It also shows that elastic and plastic strain rates can be linked to each other through simple power law relationships so that one can calculate or predict the latter from the former and vice versa. We anticipate that such basic bone biomechanics data would be of great benefit to both clinicians and bioengineers working in the field of FEA modelling applications and orthopaedic implant surgery.

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