Metatarsal strains are sufficient to cause fatigue fracture during cyclic overloading

C. Milgrom, A. Finestone, N. Sharkey, A. Hamel, V. Mandes, D. Burr, A. Arndt, I. Ekenman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Human in vivo tibial strains during vigorous walking have not been found to exceed 1200 microstrains. These values are below those found in ex vivo studies (>3000 microstrains) to cause cortical bone fatigue failure, suggesting that an intermediate bone remodeling response may be associated with tibial stress fractures. Metatarsal stress fractures, however, often develop before there is time for such a response to occur. Simultaneous in vivo axial strains were measured at the mid diaphysis of the second metatarsal and the tibia in two subjects. Peak axial metatarsal compression strains and strain rates were significantly higher than those of the tibia during treadmill walking and jogging both barefoot and with running shoes and during simple calisthenics. During barefoot treadmill walking metatarsal compression strains were greater than 2500 microstrains. During one- and two-leg vertical jumps and broad jumping, both metatarsal compression and tension strains were >3000 microstrains. Compression and tension strains in the metatarsus unlike those of the tibia may be sufficiently high even during moderate exertional activities to cause fatigue failure of bone secondary to the number of loading cycles without an intermediate bone remodeling response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-235
Number of pages6
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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