The effect of articular joint shape and congruence on kinematics, contact stress, and the natural progression of joint disease continues to be a topic of interest in the orthopedic biomechanics literature. Currently, the most widely used metrics of assessing skeletal joint shape and congruence are based on average principal curvatures across the articular surfaces. Here we propose a method for comparing articular joint shape and quantifying joint congruence based on three-dimensional (3D) histograms of curvature—shape descriptors that preserve spatial information. Illustrated by experimental results from the trapeziometacarpal joint, this method could help unveil the interrelations between joint shape and function and provide much needed insight for the high incidence of osteoarthritis (OA)—a mechanically mediated disease whose onset has been hypothesized to be precipitated by joint incongruity.

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