Method and instrumented fixture for femoral fracture testing in a sideways fall-on-the-hip position

Dan Dragomir-Daescu, Asghar Rezaei, Timothy Rossman, Susheil Uthamaraj, Rachel Entwistle, Sean McEligot, Vincent Lambert, Hugo Giambini, Iwona Jasiuk, Michael J. Yaszemski, Lichun Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mechanical testing of femora brings valuable insights into understanding the contribution of clinically-measureable variables such as bone mineral density distribution and geometry on the femoral mechanical properties. Currently, there is no standard protocol for mechanical testing of such geometrically complex bones to measure strength, and stiffness. To address this gap we have developed a protocol to test cadaveric femora to fracture and to measure their biomechanical parameters. This protocol describes a set of adaptable fixtures to accommodate the various load magnitudes and directions accounting for possible bone orientations in a fall on the hip configuration, test speed, bone size, and left leg-right leg variations. The femora were prepared for testing by cleaning, cutting, scanning, and potting the distal end and greater trochanter contact surfaces in poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) as presented in a different protocol. The prepared specimens were placed in the testing fixture in a position mimicking a sideways fall on the hip and loaded to fracture. During testing, two load cells measured vertical forces applied to the femoral head and greater trochanter, a six-axis load cell measured forces and moments at the distal femoral shaft, and a displacement sensor measured differential displacement between the femoral head and trochanter contact supports. High speed video cameras were used to synchronously record the sequence of fracture events during testing. The reduction of this data allowed us to characterize the strength, stiffness, and fracture energy for nearly 200 osteoporotic, osteopenic, and normal cadaveric femora for further development of engineering-based diagnostic tools for osteoporosis research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere54928
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number126
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Bioengineering
  • Biomechanics
  • Femur
  • Fixture design
  • Hip fracture
  • Issue 126
  • Mechanical testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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