Modeling of failure mode in knee ligaments depending on the strain rate

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2002;3:3. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-3-3. Epub 2002 Jan 17.


Background: The failure mechanism of the knee ligament (bone-ligament-bone complex) at different strain rates is an important subject in the biomechanics of the knee. This study reviews and summarizes the literature describing ligament injury as a function of stain rate, which has been published during the last 30 years.

Methods: Three modes of injury are presented as a function of strain rate, and they are used to analyze the published cases. The number of avulsions is larger than that of ligament tearing in mode I. There is no significant difference between the number of avulsions and ligament tearing in mode II. Ligament tearing happens more frequently than avulsion in mode III.

Results: When the strain rate increases, the order of mode is mode I, II, III, I, and II. Analytical models of ligament behavior as a function of strain rate are also presented and used to provide an integrated framework for describing all of the failure regimes. In addition, this study showed the failure mechanisms with different specimens, ages, and strain rates.

Conclusion: There have been several a numbers of studies of ligament failure under various conditions including widely varying strain rates. One issue in these studies is whether ligament failure occurs mid-ligament or at the bone attachment point, with assertions that this is a function of the strain rate. However, over the range of strain rates and other conditions reported, there has appeared to be discrepancies in the conclusions on the effect of strain rate. The analysis and model presented here provides a unifying assessment of the previous disparities, emphasizing the differential effect of strain rate on the relative strengths of the ligament and the attachment.