Stress shielding refers to the reduction in bone density (osteopenia) as a result of removal of normal stress from the bone by an implant (for instance, the femoral component of a hip prosthesis). This is because by Wolff's law, bone in a healthy person or animal will remodel in response to the loads it is placed under. Therefore, if the loading on a bone decreases, the bone will become less dense and weaker because there is no stimulus for continued remodeling that is required to maintain bone mass.
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