Pelvis and femur geometry: Relationships with impact characteristics during sideways falls on the hip Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • While metrics of pelvis and femur geometry have been demonstrated to influence hip fracture risk, attempts at linking geometry to underlying mechanisms have focused on fracture strength. We investigated the potential effects of femur and pelvis geometry on applied loads during lateral falls on the hip. Fifteen female volunteers underwent DXA imaging to characterize two pelvis and six femur geometric features. Additionally, participants completed low-energy sideways falls on the hip; peak impact force and pressure, contact area, and moment of force applied to the proximal femur were extracted. No geometric feature was significantly associated with peak impact force. Peak moment of force was significantly associated with femur moment arm (p = 0.005). Peak pressure was positively correlated with pelvis width and femur moment arm (p < 0.05), while contact area was negatively correlated with metrics of pelvis width and femur neck length (p < 0.05). This is the first study to link experimental measures of impact loads during sideways falls with image-based skeletal geometry from human volunteers. The results suggest that while skeletal geometry has limited effects on overall peak impact force during sideways falls, it does influence how impact loads are distributed at the skin surface, in addition to the bending moment applied to the proximal femur. These findings have implications for the design of protective interventions (e.g. wearable hip protectors), and for models of fall-related lateral impacts that could incorporate the relationships between skeletal geometry, external load magnitude/distribution, and tissue-level femur loads.

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publication date

  • October 2018