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Understanding how forces are distributed through the proximal femur has many clinical applications for surgeons, researchers, and prosthetic designers. A new system for two-dimensional analysis of femoral surface strain was developed and applied to intact composite femurs. The photoelastic coating method was used to resolve the surface strain under axial loading, and strain analysis was performed using digital imaging of the strain patterns and original computer programs. The technique provides qualitative and quantitative data that describes overall femoral surface strains more completely than previous point analysis and strain gauge techniques. Results from repeated testing found the photoelastic process, computer imaging and computer analysis of strain areas to be statistically repeatable.