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Mechanical characteristics of three staples commonly used in foot surgery

Ulfin Rethnam1*, Jan Kuiper2 and Nilesh Makwana3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedics, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, UK

2 Hip Research Unit, Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry, UK

3 Department of Orthopaedics, Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry, UK

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Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2009, 2:5  doi:10.1186/1757-1146-2-5

Published: 25 February 2009



Bone staples are an accepted method of fixation in foot surgery. They reduce operating time and trauma in surgical procedures. A variety of memory staples are available but their properties compared to standard staples are not known. We carried out a study comparing two popular types of memory staples and a standard stainless steel staple.


Standardized bone models of metatarsals made from Tufnol tubes were osteotomized and stabilised using one of three types of bone staples, two types of memory staple (Memory staple and heat-activated Memoclip) or a standard stainless steel staple (Richards). Constructs were loaded in bending and torsion on a material testing machine. The moment and torque to achieve 10 degree of bending or torsion and permanent angulation of the osteotomized bones were assessed.


The Richards staple was found to provide a four times larger resistance to bending and torsion than the two memory staples. However, it was permanently deformed after bending. The Memory and Memoclip staples were equal in their stiffness. In addition, angulation of bones fixed with the Memoclip was elastic, preventing any permanent deformation.


The Richards staple was stiffer, although the permanent deformation of this staple is a disadvantage. Memoclip staples exhibit lower but adequate stiffnesss when compared to the standard Richards staple and are not permanently deformed after bending. The Memoclip staples were easier to handle. The results will enable surgeons to determine the optimal staple for foot and ankle procedures.