The objective of this study was to examine how changes in glenohumeral joint conformity and loading patterns affected the forces and strains developed at the glenoid. After removal of soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and labrum), force-displacement data were collected for both natural and prosthetically reconstructed joints. Joints were shown to develop higher forces for a given translation as joint conformity increased. A rigid body model of joint contact forces was used to determined the so-called effective radial mismatch of each joint. For the purposes of this study, the effective radial mismatch is defined as the mismatch required for a rigid body joint to have the same force-displacement relationship as the joint in question. This parameter is an indication of the deformation at the articular surface. The effective radial mismatch dramatically increased with increasing medial loads, indicating that under physiological loads, the effective radial mismatch of a joint is much greater than its measured mismatch at no load. This increase in effective mismatch as medial loads were increased was found to be threefold greater in cartilaginous joints than in reconstructed joints. Rosette strain gages positioned at the midlevel of the glenoid keel in the reconstructed joints revealed that anterior/posterior component loading leads to fully reversible cyclic keel strains. The highest compressive strains occurred with the head centered in the glenoid, and were larger for nonconforming joints (ε = 0.23 percent). These strains became tensile just before rim loading and were greater for conforming joints (ε = 0.15 percent). Although recorded peak strains are below the yield point for polyethylene, the fully reversed cyclic loading of the component in this fashion may ultimately lead to component toggling and implant failure.

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