Bone mechanics is both an active area of research and a well-established and useful discipline applied to many practical problems in orthopedics. In this review, I describe a set of basic principles that relate structural mechanics of skeletal structures to material and geometric properties and that relate material properties of bone to composition and organization. In a number of practical circumstances, these principles reduce to simple relationships describing the roles of materials and geometry in the mechanical behavior of bones. In particular, in the case of elastic behavior of long bones these principles reduce to simple products of geometric and material properties, In other circumstances the relationships are more complex, but the underlying principles are still apparent. These principles are also the framework for essentially all the work in bone bio-mechanics and related work aimed at better understanding, diagnosing, and treating skeletal disorders.
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