Finite Element Models of the Knee Meniscus
In the knee, the menisci play an important role in distribution of forces onto the articular cartilage. However, their complex structure, numerous attachments and nonlinear material properties present significant challenges for biomechanical modeling. Our group has developed one of the most complete finite element models of these structures, and we have used a combination of MR imaging and joint loading to validate our model and study its sensitivity to the many input parameters.
Using models of six healthy subjects, we have seen wide variations in pressure distributions between individuals and demonstrated the importance of the peripheral attachments in certain loading conditions. Our next steps are the investigation of the effects of meniscal injury and repair on the development of osteoarthritis, and further studies of variations in meniscal geometry between genders and ethnic groups.