Quantitative determination of joint incongruity and pressure distribution during simulated gait and cartilage thickness in the human hip joint

von Eisenhart,R.; Adam,C.; Steinlechner,M.; Muller-Gerbl,M.; Eckstein,F.
The objective of this study was to provide quantitative data on hip-joint incongruity and pressure during a simulated walking cycle and on articular-cartilage thickness in the same set of specimens. Using a casting technique in eight specimens of the human hip (age: 18-75 years), we determined the width of the joint space (incongruity) required at minimal load for contact at four phases of the gait cycle. The pressure distribution, measured with pressure-sensitive film, was determined at physiologic load magnitudes on the basis of in vivo measurements of hip-joint forces. Cartilage thickness was assessed with A-mode ultrasound. At minimal loading, the average maximum width of the joint space ranged from 1.1 to 1.5 mm in the acetabular roof, with the contact areas located ventro-superiorly and dorso-inferiorly throughout the gait cycle. At physiological loading, the width decreased and the contact areas covered the complete articular surface during midstance and heel-off but not during heel-strike or toe-off. The pressure distribution was inhomogeneous during all phases, with average maximum pressures of 7.7 +/- 1.95 MPa at midstance. The cartilage thickness varied considerably throughout the joint surfaces; maxima greater than 3 mm were found ventro-superiorly. These data can be used to generate and validate computer models to determine the load-sharing between the interstitial fluid and the solid proteoglycan-collagen matrix of articular cartilage, the latter being relevant for the initiation of mechanically induced cartilage degeneration
J Orthop.Res. 1999 17(4):532-539
Tags: 99387515; adolescence; adult; aged; Biomechanics; Cartilage,Articular; Gait; Hip Joint; human; middle age; physiology; pressure; specimens
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