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Kyle Young

Characterizing Anterior Knee Mechanics through
Patellofemoral Joint Modeling

Kyle Young ’24

Faculty Mentor(s):
Ben Wheatley, Mechanical Engineering
Funding Source:
James L. D. and Rebecca Roser Research Fund

Patellofemoral pain affects nearly 25% of the general population, and is particularly prevalent in athletes and military personnel. It remains unclear as to why some people experience patellofemoral pain and others do not, however joint mechanics certainly play an integral role in pain development and disease progression. The mechanics of the patellofemoral joint are driven by multiple factors such as kinematics (the way people move and walk), morphology (the person-specific shape of the musculoskeletal tissues), and the loads that act about the surrounding area of the joint (muscle forces and activation patterns). Broadly, the aim of the research is to develop a computational tool that will help to investigate the contributions of these factors to anterior knee mechanics and thus joint pain longer term. A musculoskeletal model of the patellofemoral joint will be developed in OpenSim – an open source musculoskeletal modeling software – based on the OpenKnee data set, which is freely available. First, segmented MRI scans are used to generate the following geometries: the distal femur, distal femoral cartilage, the patella, patellar cartilage, the proximal tibia, and tendon and ligament insertion/attachment sites. These geometries are then smoothed and refined and imported into OpenSim, an open source musculoskeletal modeling software, with cartilage as contact geometries. Femoral and tibial kinematics will be defined along with knee extensor muscle forces, thus enabling the simulation of patellofemoral joint contact. Long term goals include studying the effects of different loading cases, different patellofemoral joint morphologies, and different kinematics on joint contact pressure.

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