Biomechanical Study of Stress in the Fifth Metatarsal.
OBJECTIVE: The stress throughout the fifth metatarsal was determined under various loading conditions, in order to better understand the causes of fractures to this bone. DESIGN: A mathematical approach was taken, in which the stresses were analysed using the methods of beam theory. BACKGROUND: Finite element analysis has frequently been used to determine the stress in bones. Beam theory provides an easier method for determining the force and moment resultant in any cross-section. The distribution of stress throughout the cross-section can then be found by solving certain partial differential equations defined on the cross-sections. METHODS: Cross-sections of the bone were obtained by slicing a mould, into which the bone was placed, at numerous intervals along its length. Analytic expressions describing each cross-section were obtained by fitting a Fourier series to a sequence of points along the boundary. RESULTS: The maximum stress found in the fifth metatarsal resulted from an oblique load, and had a magnitude less than would occur in a subject during normal walking. CONCLUSIONS: Since the magnitude of the stress is submaximal, this study lends theoretical support to the clinical observation that the diaphyseal fracture is indeed a stress fracture. RELEVANCE: Our analysis adds a biomechanical rationale to the pathomechanics of diaphyseal stress fractures of the fifth metatarsal. It suggests that inversion during repetitive activities may predispose the foot to fractures at a predictable location.
Published In/Presented At
Arangio, G. A., Xiao, D., & Salathe, E. P. (1997). Biomechanical study of stress in the fifth metatarsal. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 12(3), 160-164.
Medicine and Health Sciences | Other Medical Specialties | Surgery
Department of Surgery, Department of Surgery Faculty