Knee Biomechanics Research and Testing

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Knee Biomechanics Research and Testing

The knee is one of the most highly stressed joints in the human body, supporting a majority of the body's mass. Knees also experience large impact forces and transmit large loads in physical activities including running, bicycling, skiing. The lateral and twisting movements involved in sports like soccer, basketball, and football apply large forces to the knee outside of the normal bending motion. These forces must be transferred through connective tissues such as the patellar tendon, cruciate ligaments (ACL, PCL), and collateral ligaments (MCL, LCL). Through understanding of the material properties of these connective tissues and their behavior at the tibial and femoral attachments, researchers can develop computational models to study the effect of different loads experienced by the knee and the resulting injuries experienced. This information can aid in the development of better stretching and exercising techniques for injury prevention and devices for injury treatment. Large loading within the knees also affects wear of the articular cartilage. Over decades of use, cartilage on the knee’s articulating surfaces may no longer provide the cushioning necessary for comfortable participation in physical activity. The material properties of cartilage obtained from tension, compression, and indentation force deflection tests, along with the wear patterns observed in fatigue experiments, can be used in the construction of computational models of the knee and development of joint repair and replacement treatments.