Bone is a mechano-sensitive tissue that alters its structure and properties in response to mechanical loading. We have previously shown that application of lateral dynamic loads to a synovial joint, such as the knee and elbow, suppresses degradation of cartilage and prevents bone loss in arthritis and postmenopausal mouse models, respectively. While loading effects on pathophysiology have been reported, mechanical effects on the loaded joint are not fully understood. Because the direction of joint loading is non-axial, not commonly observed in daily activities, strain distributions in the laterally loaded joint are of great interest. Using elbow loading, we herein characterized mechanical responses in the loaded ulna focusing on the distribution of compressive strain. In response to 1-N peak-to-peak loads, which elevate bone mineral density and bone volume in the proximal ulna in vivo, we conducted finite-element analysis and evaluated strain magnitude in three loading conditions. The results revealed that strain of ~ 1000 μstrain (equivalent to 0.1% compression) or above was observed in the limited region near the loading site, indicating that the minimum effective strain for bone formation is smaller with elbow loading than axial loading. Calcein staining indicated that elbow loading increased bone formation in the regions predicted to undergo higher strain.
- Finite-element analysis
- Mechanical loading
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine