Body Anthropometry and Bone Strength Conjointly Determine the Risk of Hip Fracture in a Sideways Fall

Marco Palanca, Egon Perilli, Saulo Martelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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We hypothesize that variations of body anthropometry, conjointly with the bone strength, determine the risk of hip fracture. To test the hypothesis, we compared, in a simulated sideways fall, the hip impact energy to the energy needed to fracture the femur. Ten femurs from elderly donors were tested using a novel drop-tower protocol for replicating the hip fracture dynamics during a fall on the side. The impact energy was varied for each femur according to the donor’s body weight, height and soft-tissue thickness, by adjusting the drop height and mass. The fracture pattern, force, energy, strain in the superior femoral neck, bone morphology and microarchitecture were evaluated. Fracture patterns were consistent with clinically relevant hip fractures, and the superior neck strains and timings were comparable with the literature. The hip impact energy (11 – 95 J) and the fracture energy (11 – 39 J) ranges overlapped and showed comparable variance (CV = 69 and 61%, respectively). The aBMD-based definition of osteoporosis correctly classified 7 (70%) fracture/non-fracture cases. The incorrectly classified cases presented large impact energy variations, morphology variations and large subcortical voids as seen in microcomputed tomography. In conclusion, the risk of osteoporotic hip fracture in a sideways fall depends on both body anthropometry and bone strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1380-1390
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number5
Early online date12 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Femur
  • Fracture mechanics
  • High-speed testing
  • Sideways fall
  • Strain analysis
  • Digital image correlation (DIC)
  • bone mineral density


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