Stiffness of the Proximal Tibial Bone in Normal and Osteoarthritic Conditions: A Parametric Finite Element Simulation Study
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Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating joint disease marked by cartilage and bone changes. Morphological and mechanical changes to bone, which are thought to increase overall bone stiffness, result in distorted joint mechanics and accelerated cartilage degeneration. Using a parametric finite element (FE) model of the proximal tibia, the primary objective of this study was to determine the relative and combined effects of OA-related osteophyte formation, and morphological and mechanical alterations to subchondral and epiphyseal bone on overall bone stiffness. The secondary objective was to assess how simulated bone changes affect load transmission in the OA joint. Methods: The overall geometry of the model was based on a segmented CT image of a cadaveric proximal tibia used to develop a 2D, symmetric, plane-strain, FE model. Simulated bone changes included osteophyte formation and varied thickness and stiffness (elastic modulus) in subchondral and epiphyseal bone layers. Normal and OA related values for these bone properties were based on the literature. “Effective Stiffness (K)” was defined as the overall stiffness of the proximal tibia, calculated using nodal displacement of the loaded area on the subchondral cortical bone surface and the load magnitude. Findings: Osteophyte formation and thickness or stiffness of the subchondral bone had little effect on overall bone stiffness. Epiphyseal bone stiffness had the most marked effect on overall bone stiffness. Load transmission did not differ between OA and normal bone. Interpretation: Results suggest that epiphyseal (trabecular) bone is a key site of interest in future analyses of OA and normal bone. Results also suggest that observed OA-related alterations in epiphyseal bone may result in OA bone being more flexible than normal bone.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorJohnston, James D.; Szyszkowski, Walerian
CommitteeLanovaz, Joel L.; Szpunar, Jerzy A.
Copyright DateJanuary 2013
Stiffness, Osteoarthritis, Subchondral bone, Finite element analysis, Proximal tibia