Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic disease, affecting approximately one third of people over the age of 45. Whilst the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease are still not well understood, mechanics play an important role in both the initiation and progression of osteoarthritis. In this study, we demonstrate the application of stepwise compression, combined with microCT imaging and digital volume correlation (DVC) to measure and evaluate full-field strain distributions within osteoarthritic femoral heads under uniaxial compression. A comprehensive analysis showed that the microstructural features inherent in OA bone did not affect the level of uncertainties associated with the applied methods. The results illustrate the localization of strains at the loading surface as well as in areas of low bone volume fraction and subchondral cysts. Trabecular thickness and connectivity density were identified as the only microstructural parameters with any association to the magnitude of local strain measured at apparent yield strain or the volume of bone exceeding yield strain. This work demonstrates a novel approach to evaluating the mechanical properties of the whole human femoral head in case of severe OA.
hip osteoarthritis; subchondral bone; microCT digital volume correlation; strain