The literature is deficient with regard to how the localized mechanical environment of skeletal tissue is altered during reduced gravitational loading and how these alterations affect fracture healing. Thus, a finite element model of the ovine hindlimb was created to characterize the local mechanical environment responsible for the inhibited fracture healing observed under experimental simulated hypogravity conditions. Following convergence and verification studies, hydrostatic pressure and strain within a diaphyseal fracture of the metatarsus were evaluated for models under both 1 and 0.25 g loading environments and compared to results of a related in vivo study. Results of the study suggest that reductions in hydrostatic pressure and strain of the healing fracture for animals exposed to reduced gravitational loading conditions contributed to an inhibited healing process, with animals exposed to the simulated hypogravity environment subsequently initiating an intramembranous bone formation process rather than the typical endochondral ossification healing process experienced by animals healing in a 1 g gravitational environment.
- finite element
- fracture healing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine