A finite element model of the knee joint could be helpful in providing insight on mechanisms of injury, effects of treatment, and the role of mechanical factors in degenerative conditions. However, preparation of such a model involves many geometric simplifications and input of material properties, some of which are poorly understood. Therefore, a method to compare model predictions to actual behaviors under controlled conditions could provide confidence in the model before exploration of other loading scenarios. Our laboratory has developed a method to apply axial loads to the in vivo human knee during magnetic resonance imaging, resembling weightbearing conditions. Image processing algorithms may then be used to assess the three-dimensional kinematics of the tibia and femur during loading. A three-dimensional model of the tibio-menisco-femoral contact has been generated and the image-based kinematic boundary conditions were applied to investigate the distribution of stresses and strains in the articular cartilage and menisci throughout the loading period. In this study, our goal is to investigate the contact patterns during long term loading of up to twenty minutes in the healthy knee. Specifically, we assess the use of both elastic and poroelastic material properties in the cartilage, and compare model predictions to known loading conditions and images of tissue deformations.

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