The biomechanical function of connective tissues in a knee joint is to stabilize the kinematics-kinetics of the joint by augmenting its stiffness and limiting excessive coupled motion. The connective tissues are characterized by an in vivo reference configuration (in situ strain) that would significantly contribute to the mechanical response of the knee joint. In this work, a novel iterative method for computing the in situ strain at reference configuration was presented. The framework used an in situ strain gradient approach (deformed reference configuration) and a detailed finite element (FE) model of the knee joint. The effect of the predicted initial configuration on the mechanical response of the joint was then investigated under joint axial compression, passive flexion, and coupled rotations (adduction and internal), and during the stance phase of gait. The inclusion of the reference configuration has a minimal effect on the knee joint mechanics under axial compression, passive flexion, and at two instances (0% and 50%) of the stance phase of gait. However, the presence of the ligaments in situ strains significantly increased the joint stiffness under passive adduction and internal rotations, as well as during the other simulated instances (25%, 75% and 100%) of the stance phase of gait. Also, these parameters substantially altered the local loading state of the ligaments and resulted in better agreement with the literature during joint flexion. Therefore, the proposed computational framework of ligament in situ strain will help to overcome the challenges in considering this crucial biological aspect during knee joint modeling. Besides, the current construct is advantageous for a better understanding of the mechanical behavior of knee ligaments under physiological and pathological states and provide relevant information in the design of reconstructive treatments and artificial grafts.
- Finite element
- In situ strain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Health Informatics