Characterization of in vivo strain in the rat tibia during external application of a four-point bending load

M. P. Akhter, D. M. Raab, C. H. Turner, D. B. Kimmel, R. R. Recker

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This paper describes a technique for characterizing strains and stresses induced in vivo in the rat tibia during application of an external four-point bending load. An external load was applied through the muscle and soft tissue with a four-point bending device, to induce strain in a 11 mm section of the right tibiae of ten adult female Sprague-Dawley rats. Induced strains were measured in vivo on the lateral surface of the tibia. Inter-rat difference, leg positioning and strain gage placement were evaluated as sources of variability of applied strains. Beam bending theory was used to predict externally induced in vivo strains. Finite element analysis was used to quantify the magnitude of shear stresses induced by this type of loading. There was a linear relationship between applied load and induced in vivo strains. In vivo strains induced by external loading were linearly correlated (R2=0.87) with the strains calculated using beam bending theory. The finite element analysis predicted shear stresses at less than 10% of the longitudinal stresses resulting from four-point bending. Strains predicted along the tibia by finite element analysis and beam bending theory were well-correlated. Inter-rat variability due to tibial size and shape difference was the most important source of variation in induced strain (CV=21.6%). Leg positioning was less important (CV=9.5%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1246
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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