A new technique to measure the dynamic contact pressures on the Tibial Plateau
Studies of the load transfer role of the meniscus have been limited to static experimental and analytical approaches. The objective of this study was to develop an experimental technique to allow the contact pressures on the tibial plateau of cadaveric knees to be measured under dynamic physiological loads. Accordingly, we adapted a load-controlled knee joint simulator to accept a cadaveric sheep knee, programmed the simulator with sheep gait kinematics data, and utilized a pressure sensor array to measure the contact pressure distribution on the lateral tibial plateau during gait. The technique was applied to six sheep knees that were tested intact and after meniscectomy. Meniscectomy resulted in a 267% increase in average contact pressure, a 117% increase in peak contact pressure, and an 80% decrease in contact area, all measured at the point of maximum peak contact stress in the gait cycle. It is envisaged that the experimental model herein developed will allow for the screening of candidate materials prior to more expensive and time-consuming animal models.