Abstract

Knee finite element (FE) knee models are used to study tissue deformation in response to complex loads. Typically, ligaments are modeled using transversely isotropic, hyperelastic material models fitted to tension data along the predominant fiber direction (longitudinal) and, less commonly, to tension data orthogonal to the fiber direction (transverse). Currently, the shear and bulk responses of the ACL are not fitted to experimental data. In this study, a newly proposed material model was fitted to longitudinal tension, transverse tension, and shear experimental data. The matrix tensile, shear, and bulk stiffnesses were then varied independently to determine the impact of each property on knee kinematics and tissue deformation in a whole-knee FE model. The range of values for each parameter was chosen based on published FE studies of the knee. For a knee at full extension under 134 N anterior tibial load, increasing matrix tensile stiffness, shear stiffness, or bulk stiffness decreased anterior tibial translation, ACL fiber strain, and ACL shear strain. For a knee under 134 N anterior tibial force and 1600 N compression, these variations in anterior tibial translations changed cartilage deformation contours by changing the point of contact between the femoral and the tibial cartilage. These findings indicate that material models for the ACL must describe matrix material properties to best predict the in vivo response to applied loads.

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