Prediction of calcaneal bone competence from biomechanical accommodation variables measured during weighted walking

C. Roger James, Lee T. Atkins, Hyung Suk Yang, Janet S. Dufek, Barry T. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carrying weight while walking is a common activity associated with increased musculoskeletal loading, but not all individuals accommodate to the weight in the same way. Different accommodation strategies could lead to different skeletal forces, stimuli for bone adaptation and ultimately bone competence. The purpose of the study was to explore the relationships between calcaneal bone competence and biomechanical accommodation variables measured during weighted walking. Twenty healthy men and women (10 each; age 27.8 ± 6.8 years) walked on a treadmill at 1.34 m/s while carrying 0, 44.5 and 89 N weights with two hands in front of the body. Peak vertical ground reaction force and sagittal plane angular displacements of the trunk and left lower extremity during weight acceptance were measured and used to quantify accommodation. Calcaneal bone stiffness index T-score (BST) was measured using quantitative ultrasound. Correlation and stepwise multiple regression were used to predict calcaneal BST from the accommodation variables. Accommodations of the foot and ankle explained 29 and 54% (p ≤.015) of the variance in calcaneal BST in different regression models. Statistical resampling using 1000 replications confirmed the strength and consistency of relationships, with the best model explaining 94% of the variance in calcaneal BST. Individuals who change foot and ankle function when carrying heavier weight likely alter the control of gravitational and muscular forces, thereby affecting calcaneal loading, bone adaptation and bone competence. These novel findings illustrate the importance of gait accommodation strategies and highlight a potential clinical consequence that requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Movement Science
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Bone density
  • Gait
  • Ground reaction force
  • Kinematics
  • Motor Processes
  • Strategy


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