The influence of the acetabular labrum on hip joint cartilage consolidation: a poroelastic finite element model

J Biomech. 2000 Aug;33(8):953-60. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(00)00042-7.


The goal of this study was to investigate the influence of the acetabular labrum on the consolidation, and hence the solid matrix strains and stresses, of the cartilage layers of the hip joint. A plane-strain finite element model was developed, which represented a coronal slice through the acetabular and femoral cartilage layers and the acetabular labrum. Elements with poroelastic properties were used to account for the biphasic solid/fluid nature of the cartilage and labrum. The response of the joint over an extended period of loading (10,000s) was examined to simulate the nominal compressive load that the joint is subjected to throughout the day. The model demonstrated that the labrum adds an important resistance in the flow path of the fluid being expressed from the cartilage layers of the joint. Cartilage layer consolidation was up to 40% quicker in the absence of the labrum. Following removal of the labrum from the model, the solid-on-solid contact stresses between the femoral and acetabular cartilage layers were greatly increased (up to 92% higher), which would increase the friction between the joint surfaces. In the absence of the labrum, the centre of contact shifted towards the acetabular rim. Subsurface strains and stresses were much higher without the labrum, which could contribute to fatigue damage of the cartilage layers. Finally, the labrum provided some structural resistance to lateral motion of the femoral head within the acetabulum, enhancing joint stability and preserving joint congruity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetabulum / anatomy & histology
  • Acetabulum / physiology*
  • Body Fluids
  • Cartilage / anatomy & histology
  • Cartilage / injuries
  • Cartilage / physiology*
  • Elasticity
  • Femur
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Hip Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Hip Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motion
  • Porosity
  • Pressure
  • Weight-Bearing