Microcracks in bone have been implicated in the development of stress fractures. The goal of this study was to evaluate bone strain and microcracks at locations where stress fractures are common (second metatarsal diaphysis) and rare (fifth metatarsal diaphysis) in an attempt to increase our understanding of the pathogenesis of stress fractures. A dynamic gait simulator was used to simulate normal walking with cadaver feet. The feet were loaded over the entire stance phase of gait and diaphyseal strains were recorded in second and fifth metatarsals. Microcrack density (Cr.Dn) and surface density (Cr.S.Dn) were determined in metatarsal cross sections from the contralateral feet. Bone strain was significantly higher in second metatarsals (-1897 ± 613 microstrain) than in fifth metatarsals (-908 ± 503 microstrain). However, second metatarsal Cr.Dn (0.23 ± 0.15 #/mm2) was not significantly different from fifth metatarsal Cr.Dn (0.35 ± 0.19 #/mm2). There was also no significant difference between Cr.S.Dn in second (17.64 ± 10.99 μm/mm2) and fifth (26.70 ± 15.53 μm/mm2) metatarsals. There were no significant relationships between the microcrack parameters and peak strain in either metatarsal. Cracks that occurred in trabecular struts (92 ± 33 μm) were significantly longer than those found ending at cement lines (71 ± 15 μm) and within osteons (57 ± 16 μm). There were no significant relationships between the microcrack parameters and age in either metatarsal. Peak strain was more than twofold greater in second metatarsals than in fifth metatarsals for simulations of normal walking; however, microcrack parameters were unable to explain the greater incidence of second metatarsal stress fractures. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism