Analysis of the Internal Mechanical Conditions in the Lower Limb Due to External Loads
Human soft tissue is loaded and deformed by any
activity, an effect known as a stress-strain relationship, and is often
described by a load and tissue elongation curve. Several advances
have been made in the fields of biology and mechanics of soft human
tissue. However, there is limited information available on in vivo
tissue mechanical characteristics and behavior. Confident mechanical
properties of human soft tissue cannot be extrapolated from e.g.
animal testing. Thus, there is need for non invasive methods to
analyze mechanical characteristics of soft human tissue. In the present
study, the internal mechanical conditions of the lower limb, which
is subject to an external load, is studied by use of the finite element
method. A detailed finite element model of the lower limb is made
possible by use of MRI scans. Skin, fat, bones, fascia and muscles
are represented separately and the material properties for them are
obtained from literature. Previous studies have been shown to address
macroscopic deformation features, e.g. indentation depth, to a large
extent. However, the detail in which the internal anatomical features
have been modeled does not reveal the critical internal strains that
may induce hypoxia and/or eventual tissue damage. The results of the
present study reveals that lumped material models, i.e. averaging of
the material properties for the different constituents, does not capture
regions of critical strains in contrast to more detailed models.
FEM, human soft tissue, indentation, properties.