Torsion and Antero-Posterior Bending in the In Vivo Human Tibia Loading Regimes during Walking and Running

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Research units


Bending, in addition to compression, is recognized to be a common loading pattern in long bones in animals. However, due to the technical difficulty of measuring bone deformation in humans, our current understanding of bone loading patterns in humans is very limited. In the present study, we hypothesized that bending and torsion are important loading regimes in the human tibia. In vivo tibia segment deformation in humans was assessed during walking and running utilizing a novel optical approach. Results suggest that the proximal tibia primarily bends to the posterior (bending angle: 0.15°-1.30°) and medial aspect (bending angle: 0.38°-0.90°) and that it twists externally (torsion angle: 0.67°-1.66°) in relation to the distal tibia during the stance phase of overground walking at a speed between 2.5 and 6.1 km/h. Peak posterior bending and peak torsion occurred during the first and second half of stance phase, respectively. The peak-to-peak antero-posterior (AP) bending angles increased linearly with vertical ground reaction force and speed. Similarly, peak-to-peak torsion angles increased with the vertical free moment in four of the five test subjects and with the speed in three of the test subjects. There was no correlation between peak-to-peak medio-lateral (ML) bending angles and ground reaction force or speed. On the treadmill, peak-to-peak AP bending angles increased with walking and running speed, but peak-to-peak torsion angles and peak-to-peak ML bending angles remained constant during walking. Peak-to-peak AP bending angle during treadmill running was speed-dependent and larger than that observed during walking. In contrast, peak-to-peak tibia torsion angle was smaller during treadmill running than during walking. To conclude, bending and torsion of substantial magnitude were observed in the human tibia during walking and running. A systematic distribution of peak amplitude was found during the first and second parts of the stance phase.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)e94525
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2014

ID: 19243

View graph of relations