A Three-Dimensional Finite Element Analysis of the Upper Tibia

[+] Author and Article Information
R. B. Little

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

H. W. Wevers

Mechanical Engineering, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

D. Siu

Clinical Mechanics Group, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

T. D. V. Cooke

Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopaedics, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

J Biomech Eng 108(2), 111-119 (May 01, 1986) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3138589 History: Received March 05, 1985; Revised January 06, 1986; Online June 12, 2009


A three-dimensional finite element model of the proximal tibia has been developed to provide a base line for further modeling of prosthetic resurfaced tibiae. The geometry for the model was developed by digitizing coronal and transverse sections made with the milling machine, from one fresh tibia of average size. The load is equally distributed between the medial and lateral compartments over contact areas that were reported in the literature. An indentation test has been used to measure the stiffness and the ultimate strength of cancellous bone in four cadaver tibiae. These values provided the statistical basis for characterising the inhomogeneous distribution of the cancellous bone properties in the proximal tibia. All materials in the model were assumed to be linearly elastic and isotropic. Mechanical properties for the cortical bone and cartilage have been taken from the literature. Results have been compared with strain gage tests and with a two-dimensional axisymmetric finite element model both from the literature. Qualitative comparison between trabecular alignment, and the direction of the principal compressive stresses in the cancellous bone, showed a good relationship. Maximum stresses in the cancellous bone and cortical bone, under a load which occurs near stance phase during normal gait, show safety factors of approximately eight and twelve, respectively. The load sharing between the cancellous bone and the cortical bone has been plotted for the first 40 mm distally from the tibial eminence.

Copyright © 1986 by ASME
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