The effect of connective tissue material uncertainties on knee joint mechanics under isolated loading conditions

Yasin Y. Dhaher*, Tae Hyun Kwon, Megan Barry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Although variability in connective tissue parameters is widely reported and recognized, systematic examination of the effect of such parametric uncertainties on predictions derived from a full anatomical joint model is lacking. As such, a sensitivity analysis was performed to consider the behavior of a three-dimensional, non-linear, finite element knee model with connective tissue material parameters that varied within a given interval. The model included the coupled mechanics of the tibio-femoral and patello-femoral degrees of freedom. Seven primary connective tissues modeled as non-linear continua, articular cartilages described by a linear elastic model, and menisci modeled as transverse isotropic elastic materials were included. In this study, a multi-factorial global sensitivity analysis is proposed, which can detect the contribution of influential material parameters while maintaining the potential effect of parametric interactions. To illustrate the effect of material uncertainties on model predictions, exemplar loading conditions reported in a number of isolated experimental paradigms were used. Our findings illustrated that the inclusion of material uncertainties in a coupled tibio-femoral and patello-femoral model reveals biomechanical interactions that otherwise would remain unknown. For example, our analysis revealed that the effect of anterior cruciate ligament parameter variations on the patello-femoral kinematic and kinetic response sensitivities was significantly larger, over a range of flexion angles, when compared to variations associated with material parameters of tissues intrinsic to the patello-femoral joint. We argue that the systematic sensitivity framework presented herein will help identify key material uncertainties that merit further research and provide insight on those uncertainties that may not be as relative to a given response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3118-3125
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


  • Coupled knee model
  • Finite element
  • Global sensitivity
  • Material uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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