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Logo of bmcmudisBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2012; 13: 70.
Published online 2012 May 14. doi:  10.1186/1471-2474-13-70
PMCID: PMC3436732

The effect of physical loading on calcaneus quantitative ultrasound measurement: a cross-section study



Physical loading leads to a deformation of bone microstructure and may influence quantitative ultrasound (QUS) parameters. This study aims at evaluating the effect of physical loading on bone QUS measurement, and further, on the potential of diagnosing osteoporosis using QUS method under physical loading condition.


16 healthy young females (control group) and 45 postmenopausal women (divided into 3 groups according to the years since menopause (YSM)) were studied. QUS parameters were measured at calcaneus under self-weight loading (standing) and no loading (sitting) conditions. Weight-normalized QUS parameter (QUS parameter measured under loading condition divided by the weight of the subject) was proposed to evaluate the influence of loading. T-test, One-Way analysis of variance (one way ANOVA) and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis were applied for analysis.


In QUS parameters, mainly normalized broadband ultrasound attenuation (nBUA), measured with loading significantly differed from those measured without loading (p < 0.05). The relative changes of weight-normalized QUS parameters on postmenopausal women with respect to premenopausal women under loading condition were larger than those on traditional QUS parameters measured without loading. In ROC analysis, weight-normalized QUS parameters showed their stronger discriminatory ability for menopause.


Physical loading substantially influenced bone QUS measurement (mainly nBUA). Weight-normalized QUS parameters can discriminate menopause more effectively. By considering the high relationship between menopause and osteoporosis, an inference was drawn that adding physical loading during measurement may be a probable way to improve the QUS based osteoporosis diagnosis.

Keywords: Quantitative ultrasound, Osteoporosis, Physical loading, Menopause

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