The influences of heterogeneity, anisotropy and geometric irregularity on the unrestrained, linearly elastic torsional response of long bones are assessed. Longitudinal geometric variations contribute insignificantly to the torsional response for typical long bone geometries. Anisotropy, heterogeneity and transverse geometric irregularity significantly influence the torsional response. A procedure is discussed which uses an approximate means to characterize both heterogeneity and anisotropy in predicting the torsional response. The accuracy of circular and elliptical annulus models of the bone cross-sectional geometry are assessed by comparing the stress predictions of these simple models to those of finite element models of the bone geometry.

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