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J Orthop Res. 2002 Jul;20(4):881-6.

Mechanical loads at the knee joint during deep flexion.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, CA 94305-3030, USA.


There is a lack of fundamental information on the knee biomechanics in deep flexion beyond 90 degrees. In this study, mechanical loads during activities requiring deep flexion were quantified on normal knees from 19 subjects, and compared with those in walking and stair climbing. The deep flexion activities generate larger net quadriceps moments (6.9-13.5% body weight into height) and net posterior forces (58.3-67.8% body weight) than routine ambulatory activities. Moreover, the peak net moments and the net posterior forces were generated between 90 degrees and 150 degrees of flexion. The large moments and forces will result in high stress at high angles of flexion. These loads can influence pathological changes to the joint and are important considerations for reconstructive procedures of the knee. The posterior cruciate ligament should have a substantial role during deep flexion, since there was a large posterior load that must be sustained at the knee. The mechanics of the knee in deep flexion are likely a factor causing problems of posterior instability in current total knee arthroplasty. Thus, it is important to consider the magnitude of the loads at the knee in the treatment of patients that commonly perform deep flexion during activities of daily living.

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