Which experimental procedures influence the apparent proximal femoral stiffness? A parametric study

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Experimental validation is the gold standard for the development of FE predictive models of bone. Employing multiple loading directions could improve this process. To capture the correct directional response of a sample, the effect of all influential parameters should be systematically considered. This study aims to determine the impact of common experimental parameters on the proximal femur's apparent stiffness.

METHODS: To that end, a parametric approach was taken to study the effects of: repetition, pre-loading, re-adjustment, re-fixation, storage, and μCT scanning as random sources of uncertainties, and loading direction as the controlled source of variation in both stand and side-fall configurations. Ten fresh-frozen proximal femoral specimens were prepared and tested with a novel setup in three consecutive sets of experiments. The neutral state and 15-degree abduction and adduction angles in both stance and fall configurations were tested for all samples and parameters. The apparent stiffness of the samples was measured using load-displacement data from the testing machine and validated against marker displacement data tracked by DIC cameras.

RESULTS: Among the sources of uncertainties, only the storage cycle affected the proximal femoral apparent stiffness significantly. The random effects of setup manipulation and intermittent μCT scanning were negligible. The 15∘ deviation in loading direction had a significant effect comparable in size to that of switching the loading configuration from neutral stance to neutral side-fall.

CONCLUSION: According to these results, comparisons between the stiffness of the samples under various loading scenarios can be made if there are no storage intervals between the different load cases on the same samples. These outcomes could be used as guidance in defining a highly repeatable and multi-directional experimental validation study protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Article number815
Pages (from-to)815
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Accidental Falls
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Femur/diagnostic imaging
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Humans


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