The primary stability of different implants for intra-articular calcaneal fractures: An in vitro study

Ming Ni, Jiong Mei, Kun Li, Wenxin Niu, Ming Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Calcaneal fractures account for around 2% of all fractures and most of them are intra-articular fractures. Many implants have been used in the fixation of calcaneal fractures, but their biomechanical stability has not yet been well investigated. The aim of this study was to compare the primary stability of four fixations of calcaneal fracture. Methods: Eight cadaveric calcaneus samples were used to simulate the Sanders' types III fracture pattern and fixed through four different implants, namely, K-wires, cannulated screws (CS), absorbable screws (AS), and plate-screw system (PSS). Each specimen was then placed into a custom-made jig and was loaded through a material testing machine to simulate the physiological condition. The primary stability was measured in the vertical direction as the stiffness and anterior-posterior direction as the calcaneocuboid force. One-way analysis of variance was used for data analysis. Results: The results showed the highest stiffness of 634 (383-891; SD 226) N/mm in the intact model. It was significantly higher than the models fixed with K-wires, CS or PSS. There was no significant difference in vertical stiffness between fractures fixed with AS and the intact model or other fixed models. The intact model showed the lowest calcaneocuboid force of 153 (120-218; SD 39) N, while the fractures fixed with AS showed the greatest force of 242 (146-398; SD 84) N. The significance was only detected between these two models. Conclusions: The global stiffness was similar when the calcaneal fractures were fixed by K-wires, CS and PSS. The stability of the AS fixation differed along both the vertical and anterior-posterior directions, and was greatly influenced by the bone quality. AS for fracture fixation should be designed with greater strength and pull-out resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalBioMedical Engineering Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2018


  • Absorbable screw
  • Calcaneal fractures
  • Fracture fixation
  • In-vitro experiment
  • Internal fixation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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