Research Papers

Pure Passive Hyperextension of the Human Cadaver Knee Generates Simultaneous Bicruciate Ligament Rupture

[+] Author and Article Information
Eric G. Meyer

Experimental Biomechanics Laboratory, College of Engineering, Lawrence Technological University, 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075emeyer@ltu.edu

Timothy G. Baumer

Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratories, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, A407 East Fee Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824baumerti@msu.edu

Roger C. Haut1

Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratories, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, A407 East Fee Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824haut@msu.edu


Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 133(1), 011012 (Dec 23, 2010) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003135 History: Received October 28, 2010; Revised November 18, 2010; Posted November 29, 2010; Published December 23, 2010; Online December 23, 2010

Knee hyperextension has been described as a mechanism of isolated anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, but clinical and experimental studies have produced contradictory results for the ligament injuries and the injury sequence caused by the hyperextension loading mechanism. The hypothesis of this study was that bicruciate ligament injuries would occur as a result of knee hyperextension by producing high tibio-femoral (TF) compressive forces that would cause anterior translation of the tibia to rupture the ACL, while joint extension would simultaneously induce rupture of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Six human knees were loaded in hyperextension until gross injury, while bending moments and motions were recorded. Pressure sensitive film documented the magnitude and location of TF compressive forces. The peak bending moment at failure was 108Nm±46Nm at a total extension angle of 33.6deg±11deg. All joints failed by simultaneous ACL and PCL damages at the time of a sudden drop in the bending moment. High compressive forces were measured in the anterior compartments of the knee and likely produced the anterior tibial subluxation, which contributed to excessive tension in the ACL. The injury to the PCL at the same time may have been due to excessive extension of the joint. These data, and the comparisons with previous experimental studies, may help explain the mechanisms of knee ligament injury during hyperextension. Knowledge of forces and constraints that occur clinically could then help diagnose primary and secondary joint injuries following hyperextension of the human knee.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 2

Knee specimen attached to the hyperextension testing fixture

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Figure 3

Representative (32273) bending moment versus time plot for prefailure and failure tests

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Figure 4

Maximum relative motion of the tibia relative to the femur during failure tests

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Figure 5

Relative anterior motion of the tibia with respect to the femur versus extension angle for failure tests

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Figure 6

Representative (32273 and 32416) contact pressure distributions for failure experiments

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Figure 1

Diagram of the hyperextension testing fixture



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