Joint load considerations in total knee replacement

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1997 Jan;79(1):109-13. doi: 10.1302/0301-620x.79b1.6978.


Estimates of knee joint loadings were calculated for 12 normal subjects from kinematic and kinetic measures obtained during both level and downhill walking. The maximum tibiofemoral compressive force reached an average load of 3.9 times body-weight (BW) for level walking and 8 times BW for downhill walking, in each instance during the early stance phase. Muscle forces contributed 80% of the maximum bone-on-bone force during downhill walking and 70% during level walking whereas the ground reaction forces contributed only 20% and 30% respectively. Most total knee designs provide a tibiofemoral contact area of 100 to 300 mm2. The yield point of these polyethylene inlays will therefore be exceeded with each step during downhill walking. Future evaluation of total knee designs should be based on a tibiofemoral joint load of 3.5 times BW at 20 degrees knee flexion, 8 times BW at 40 degrees and 6 times BW at 60 degrees.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Knee Prosthesis*
  • Male
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Walking / physiology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*