The influence of patellofemoral joint contact geometry on the modeling of three dimensional patellofemoral joint forces

Christopher M Powers, Yu-Jen Chen, Irving Scher, Thay Q Lee
Journal of Biomechanics 2006, 39 (15): 2783-91
The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of patellofemoral joint contact geometry on the modeling of three-dimensional patellofemoral joint forces. To achieve this goal, patellofemoral joint reaction forces (PFJRFs) that were measured from an in-vitro cadaveric set-up were compared to PFJRFs estimated from a computer model that did not consider patellofemoral joint contact geometry. Ten cadaver knees were used in this study. Each was mounted on a custom jig that was fixed to an Instron frame. Quadriceps muscle loads were accomplished using a pulley system and weights. The force in the patellar ligament was obtained using a buckle transducer. To quantify the magnitude and direction of the PFJRF, a six-axis load cell was incorporated into the femoral fixation system so that a rigid body assumption could be made. PFJRF data were obtained at 0 degrees , 20 degrees , 40 degrees and 60 degrees of knee flexion. Following in vitro testing, SIMM modeling software was used to develop computational models based on the three-dimensional coordinates (Microscribe digitizer) of individual muscle and patellar ligament force vectors obtained from the cadaver knees. The overall magnitude of the PFJRF estimated from the computer generated models closely matched the direct measurements from the in vitro set-up (Pearson's correlation coefficient, R(2)=0.91, p<0.001). Although the computational model accurately estimated the posteriorly directed forces acting on the joint, some discrepancies were noted in the forces acting in the superior and lateral directions. These differences however, were relatively small when expressed as a total of the overall PFJRF magnitude.

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