The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Calcaneal enthesophytes: etiology beyond activity


Anthropology, San Jose State University

Thursday 113, Plaza Level Add to calendar

Calcanei are the most common sites for enthesophytes. Although calcaneal enthesophytes have been extensively researched, many unknowns remain. Whether biological factors, such as age, weight and genetics, play a greater role in enthesophyte etiology than activity is still unknown.

The current study examines 62 females and 64 males from a California Amerind population to aid in understanding enthesophyte etiology. Calcaneal enthesophytes are scored as present or absent and analyzed in regards to their relationships with sex, age, body mass and humeral robusticity. Sex and age are determined through pelvic, cranial and dental morphology. Femoral head diameters are gathered to calculate body mass using Grine and colleagues’ (1995) formula. Humeral entheses scores are gathered using the method described by Hawkey and Merbs (1995) and then aggregated. Cross-sectional robusticity scores are an aggregate of areal and inertial values obtained through radiographs and calculated using formulae provided by Biknevicius and Ruff (1992). Humeri are used to reduce the probability that high robusticity is related to the same activity as those that may create calcaneal enthesophytes.

Calcaneal enthesophytes are found more frequently in older individuals (left, t = -3.745; right, t = -4.819; Ps < 0.001) and in individuals with higher humeral entheses scores (left, t = -2.055, P < 0.05). Marginal results include that calcaneal enthesophytes are more frequent in individuals with higher body masses (left, t = -1.707, P = 0.092). Results suggest calcaneal enthesophytes, and perhaps other enthesophytes, relate to aging, systemic bone formation and body mass, in addition to activities.

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