Adaptations of trabecular bone to low magnitude vibrations result in more uniform stress and strain under load

Stefan Judex, Steve Boyd, Yi Xian Quin, Simon Turner, Kenny Ye, Ralph Müller, Clinton Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Extremely low magnitude mechanical stimuli (<10 microstrain) induced at high frequencies are anabolic to trabecular bone. Here, we used finite element (FE) modeling to investigate the mechanical implications of a one year mechanical intervention. Adult female sheep stood with their hindlimbs either on a vibrating plate (30 Hz, 0.3 g) for 20 min/d, 5 d/wk or on an inactive plate. Microcomputed tomography data of 1 cm bone cubes extracted from the medial femoral condyles were transformed into FE meshes. Simulated compressive loads applied to the trabecular meshes in the three orthogonal directions indicated that the low level mechanical intervention significantly increased the apparent trabecular tissue stiffness of the femoral condyle in the longitudinal (+17%, p<0.02), anterior-posterior (+29%, p<0.01), and medial-lateral (+37%, p<0.01) direction, thus reducing apparent strain magnitudes for a given applied load. For a given apparent input strain (or stress), the resultant stresses and strains within trabeculae were more uniformly distributed in the off-axis loading directions in cubes of mechanically loaded sheep. These data suggest that trabecular bone responds to low level mechanical loads with intricate adaptations beyond a simple reduction in apparent strain magnitude, producing a structure that is stiffer and less prone to fracture for a given load.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone adaptation
  • Bone formation
  • Finite element modeling
  • Mechanical properties
  • Mechanical stimuli
  • Mechanical strain and stress
  • Noninvasive
  • Osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptations of trabecular bone to low magnitude vibrations result in more uniform stress and strain under load'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this