Femoral Strength Changes Faster With Age Than BMD in Both Women and Men: A Biomechanical Study.

Rezaei A1,2, Dragomir-Daescu D1,3.
  • 1Division of Engineering, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
  • 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA.
  • 3Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.



Although a large number of studies have addressed the age-related changes in bone mineral density (BMD), there is a paucity of data for the assessment of femoral strength loss with age in both genders. We determined the variation of strength with age in femurs of women and men by mechanical tests on a cohort of 100 cadaveric femurs. In addition, the age-related neck BMD loss in our cadaveric cohort was found to be similar with BMD loss of four published population-based studies. Given the strong correlation found in our cadaveric study between BMD and femoral strength, we also estimated the femoral strength of the four populations based on their reported neck BMDs. Our study showed that men’s femurs in our cadaveric cohort were stronger than women’s femurs by about 800 N at the same BMD level, and by 1750 N at the same age. The strength differences were not explained satisfactorily by the size difference between men’s and women’s bones. Similar to the findings of clinical studies, the BMD values of men at all ages were larger than that of women. The age-related loss rates in BMD and strength were not statistically different between the two genders of our cadaveric cohort. After normalization, strength decreased more than 40% faster than BMD. On average, men reached a certain BMD value about 16 years later than women, and for strength about 23 years later, which may explain the higher rate of hip fracture in postmenopausal women. In patient population cohorts men reached a similar BMD value about 16 to 25 years later than women, whereas for estimated strength, sometimes more than 40 years later. © 2015 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.


PMID: 26096829