Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer S. Wayne


Computational models of musculoskeletal joints and limbs can provide useful information about joint mechanics. Validated models can be used as a predictive device for understanding joint function and serve as a clinical tool for predicting the outcome of surgical procedures. A new computational modeling approach was developed for simulating joint kinematics that are dictated by bone/joint anatomy, ligamentous constraints, and applied loading.Three-dimensional computational models of the lower leg were created. Model development involved generating three-dimensional surfaces from CT images, followed by importing these surfaces into SolidWorks and COSMOSMotion. ThroughSolidWorks and COSMOSMotion, each bone surface was created into a solid object and positioned, necessary components added, and simulations executed. Three dimensional contacts inhibited intersection of the bones during motion. Ligaments were represented as linear springs. Model predictions were then validated by comparison to three different previously performed cadaver studies (syndesmotic injury study, inversion stability study, and mechanical laxity study) and one simultaneously performed cadaver study (anterior drawer test).In the syndesmotic injury study, the relative motion between the tibia and fibula in intact, transected, and repaired states was measured under the application of an external rotation of the ankle. The inversion stability study focused on the elongation behavior of lateral ankle ligaments and inversion range of motion during the application of an applied load. The mechanical laxity study focused on differences in anterior/posterior and inversion/eversion movement in intact and transected states. Each computational simulation was placed under the same conditions as its respective cadaver study and revealed a capability to predict behaviors in each case. The syndesmotic injury model was able to predict tibia1 rotation, fibular rotation, and anterior/posterior displacement. In the inversion simulation, calcaneofibular ligament extension and angles of inversion compared well. The laxity study showed increases in anteroposter motion after the transactions of the ATFL and CFL; and diffenences in inversion after the transaction of the CFL. The Anterior Drawer simulation produced similar ligament elongations and loads when compared to cadaver studies.Overall, the computational models were able to predict joint kinematics of the lower leg with particular focus on the ankle complex. Additional parameters can be calculated through such models that are not easily obtained experimentally such as ligament forces, force transmission across joints, and three-dimensional movement of all bones.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008