This study deals primarily with the stability of the base of the spine. The sacroiliac joints are vulnerable to shear loading on account of their predominantly flat surfaces. This raises the question of what mechanisms are brought into action to prevent dislocation of the sacroiliac joints when they are loaded by the weight of the upper part of the body and by trunk muscle forces. First a model is introduced to compare load transfer in joints with spherical and with flat joint surfaces. Next we consider a biomechanical model for the equilibrium of the sacrum under load, describing a self-bracing effect that protects the sacroiliac joints against shear according to 'the sacroiliac joint compression theory', which has been demonstrated in vitro. The model shows joint stability by the application of bending moments and the configuration of the pelvic arch. The model includes a large number of muscles (e.g. the gluteus maximus and piriformis muscles), ligaments (e.g. the sacrotuberous, sacrospinal, and dorsal and interosseous sacroiliac ligaments) as well as the coarse texture and the ridges and grooves of the joint surfaces.
Copyright © 1993. Published by Elsevier Ltd.