Gait speed and spasticity are independently associated with estimated failure load in the distal tibia after stroke: an HR-pQCT study

Tiev Miller, Ling Qin, Vivian W.Y. Hung, Michael T.C. Ying, Charlotte S.L. Tsang, Huixi Ouyang, Raymond C.K. Chung, Marco Y.C. Pang (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Summary: This HR-pQCT study was conducted to examine bone properties of the distal tibia post-stroke and to identify clinical outcomes that were associated with these properties at this site. It was found that spasticity and gait speed were independently associated with estimated failure load in individuals with chronic stroke. Purpose: (1) To examine the influence of stroke on distal tibia bone properties and (2) the association between these properties and clinical outcomes in people with chronic stroke. Methods: Sixty-four people with stroke (age, 60.8 ± 7.7 years; time since stroke, 5.7 ± 3.9 years) and 64 controls (age: 59.4 ± 7.8 years) participated in this study. High-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) was used to scan the bilateral distal tibia, and estimated failure load was calculated by automated finite element analysis. Echo intensity of the medial gastrocnemius muscle and blood flow of the popliteal artery were assessed with ultrasound. The 10-m walk test (10MWT), Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment (FMA), and Composite Spasticity Scale (CSS) were also administered. Results: The percent side-to-side difference (%SSD) in estimated failure load, cortical area, thickness, and volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), and trabecular and total vBMD were significantly greater in the stroke group than their control counterparts (Cohen’s d = 0.48–1.51). Isometric peak torque and echo intensity also showed significant within- and between-groups differences (p ≤ 0.01). Among HR-pQCT variables, the %SSD in estimated failure load was empirically chosen as one example of the strong discriminators between the stroke group and control group, after accounting for other relevant factors. The 10MWT and CSS subscale for ankle clonus remained significantly associated with the %SSD in estimated failure load after adjusting for other relevant factors (p ≤ 0.05). Conclusion: The paretic distal tibia showed more compromised vBMD, cortical area, cortical thickness, and estimated failure load than the non-paretic tibia. Gait speed and spasticity were independently associated with estimated failure load. As treatment programs focusing on these potentially modifiable stroke-related impairments are feasible to administer, future studies are needed to determine the efficacy of such intervention strategies for improving bone strength in individuals with chronic stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-724
Number of pages12
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Failure load
  • HR-pQCT
  • Stroke
  • Tibia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Gait speed and spasticity are independently associated with estimated failure load in the distal tibia after stroke: an HR-pQCT study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this