Patterns of strain in the macaque tibia during functional activity

Am J Phys Anthropol. 2001 Dec;116(4):257-65. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.1122.


The strain environment of the tibial midshaft of two female macaques was evaluated through in vivo bone strain experiments using three rosette gauges around the circumference of the bones. Strains were collected for a total of 123 walking and galloping steps as well as several climbing cycles. Principal strains and the angle of the maximum (tensile) principal strain with the long axis of the bone were calculated for each gauge site. In addition, the normal strain distribution throughout the cross section was determined from the longitudinal normal strains (strains in the direction of the long axis of the bone) at each of the three gauge sites, and at the corresponding cross-sectional geometry of the bone. This strain distribution was compared with the cross-sectional properties (area moments) of the midshaft. For both animals, the predominant loading regime was found to be bending about an oblique axis running from anterolateral to posteromedial. The anterior and part of the medial cortex are in tension; the posterior and part of the lateral cortex are in compression. The axis of bending does not coincide with the maximum principal axis of the cross section, which runs mediolaterally. The bones are not especially buttressed in the plane of bending, but offer the greatest strength anteroposteriorly. The cross-sectional geometry therefore does not minimize strain or bone tissue. Peak tibial strains are slightly higher than the peak ulnar strains reported earlier for the same animals (Demes et al. [1998] Am J Phys Anthropol 106:87-100). Peak strains for both the tibia and the ulna are moderate in comparison to strains recorded during walking and galloping activities in nonprimate mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Macaca / physiology*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tibia / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology*