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Accuracy of finite element predictions in sideways load configurations for the proximal human femur

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Published:25th Mar 2020
Subject-specific finite element models have been used to predict stress-state and fracture risk in individual patients. While many studies analysed quasi-axial loading configurations, only few works simulated sideways load configurations, such as those arising in a fall. The majority among these latter directly predicted bone strength, without assessing elastic strain prediction accuracy. The aim of the present work was to evaluate if a subject-specific finite element modelling technique from CT data that accurately predicted strains in quasi-axial loading configurations is suitable to accurately predict strains also when applying low magnitude loads in sideways configurations. To this aim, a combined numerical–experimental study was performed to compare finite element predicted strains with strain-gauge measurements from three cadaver proximal femurs instrumented with sixteen strain rosettes and tested non-destructively under twelve loading configurations, spanning a wide cone (0–30° for both adduction and internal rotation angles) of sideways fall scenarios. The results of the present study evidenced a satisfactory agreement between experimentally measured and predicted strains (R2 greater than 0.9, RMSE% lower than 10%) and displacements. The achieved strain prediction accuracy is comparable to those obtained in state of the art studies in quasi-axial loading configurations. Still, the presence of the highest strain prediction errors (around 30%) in the lateral neck aspect would deserve attention in future studies targeting bone failure.

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