How Much Force Does It Take To Break A Bone?

Author: Seeker

What does it take to break a bone? Like, really… Could I do it with my bare hands?! Hello there skeletal-based humans! Amy here for DNews. Recently it came out that during the filming of the latest Star Wars movie, a hydraulic door broke Harrison Ford’s leg. This got us wondering: how much force does it take to break a bone? As it turns out that question is a lot more complicated than it sounds. Adults have 206 bones that come in a lot of shapes and sizes, so some bones are going to be a lot easier to break than others. The largest bone in your body, your femur or thigh bone, is a lot harder to break than the long slender clavicle, or collarbone, which one of the more commonly broken bones. Part of this has to do with the of muscle around a bone that supports the bone and absorbs some of the impact from a hit. Your femur encased in all your leg meat, and that can take more of a hit than your rib.

Dr Cindy Bir of the University of Southern California estimates that a force of 3,300 newtons has a 1 in 4 chance of cracking the average person’s rib, while their femur typically takes more force to break: around 4,000 newtons. There isn’t a set number for what force will break a bone like a rib because how the force is applied makes a difference. A blow perpendicular to the bone is going to do more damage than when that same force is applied almost parallel, and that’s because of how bones are built. Your bones are actually made up of two types of bone tissue: cancellous bone and cortical bone. Cancellous bone is the spongy inner material and usually contains red bone marrow that makes red blood cells.

Cortical bone, also called compact bone, makes up the outside. It’s dense, hard, stiff, and accounts for 80% of your skeleton’s mass. This outer layer is made up of columns of of collagen and calcium phosphate, like bundles of twigs. Collagen provides the soft framework in the bones and calcium phosphate adds the strength. Because these columns run vertically, they give your bones strength down their length. Bones are great at taking compressing forces like when you jump but can’t deal too well with shear forces like when someone hits you with a car.

Certain people might also just have stronger bones, depending on their diet, age, and lifestyle. Your bones are dynamic: they’re constantly being broken down in a process called resorption, and rebuilt. Because a big component of them is calcium, a diet low in calcium means your bones will probably be a bit more brittle.

How Much Force Does It Take To Break A Bone?

And just like with muscle, putting stress on your bones through exercise can make them stronger. That’s why astronauts come back from space with reduced bone density: floating around up there means their bones aren’t getting the same stress they would on earth. But even if your diet and exercise routines are great, there’s no fighting age.

Our bones reach a peak density around age 30 and then begin to decline when the resorption of bone happens faster than formation. Eventually this can lead to osteoporosis, a condition where bones are weaker and can fracture more easily, sometimes even under normal use. In the US, an estimated 55% of people over 50 have osteoporosis. If you’re a fan of 360 and VR videos, Seeker has launched our brand new Seeker VR channel perfect for watching your favorite videos using the YouTube app or VR device.

So put on your headphones and get ready to experience videos in a whole new way! So, when I said the human body has 206 bones, I bet some of you said dudes can have 207. Way to be immature, and no they can’t. But other animals can! Laci talks about penis bones here.

Have you ever broken a bone?.

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