Loading of the knee joint during activities of daily living measured in vivo in five subjects

J Biomech. 2010 Aug 10;43(11):2164-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.03.046.


Detailed knowledge about loading of the knee joint is essential for preclinical testing of implants, validation of musculoskeletal models and biomechanical understanding of the knee joint. The contact forces and moments acting on the tibial component were therefore measured in 5 subjects in vivo by an instrumented knee implant during various activities of daily living. Average peak resultant forces, in percent of body weight, were highest during stair descending (346% BW), followed by stair ascending (316% BW), level walking (261% BW), one legged stance (259% BW), knee bending (253% BW), standing up (246% BW), sitting down (225% BW) and two legged stance (107% BW). Peak shear forces were about 10-20 times smaller than the axial force. Resultant forces acted almost vertically on the tibial plateau even during high flexion. Highest moments acted in the frontal plane with a typical peak to peak range -2.91% BWm (adduction moment) to 1.61% BWm (abduction moment) throughout all activities. Peak flexion/extension moments ranged between -0.44% BWm (extension moment) and 3.16% BWm (flexion moment). Peak external/internal torques lay between -1.1% BWm (internal torque) and 0.53% BWm (external torque). The knee joint is highly loaded during daily life. In general, resultant contact forces during dynamic activities were lower than the ones predicted by many mathematical models, but lay in a similar range as measured in vivo by others. Some of the observed load components were much higher than those currently applied when testing knee implants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*