A knee simulating machine for performance evaluation of total knee replacements

P. S. Walker, G. W. Blunn, D. R. Broome, J. Perry, A. Watkins, S. Sathasivam, M. E. Dewar, J. P. Paul

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A knee simulating machine is required for the design and evaluation of total knee replacements, the kinematics and the long-term wear being aspects of particular importance. There are no generally agreed design criteria, such that existing designs of simulator have a wide variety of input and constraint conditions. In this study, it was postulated that in order to reproduce physiological wear patterns, the correct kinematics is required, on the basis that the wear will be a direct function of the sliding, rolling and tractive rolling conditions at the joint surfaces. In turn, the correct kinematics would only be achieved by the input of physiological forces, by the appropriate constraints on the fixtures holding the components, and by simulating the soft tissue restraints. A knee simulating machine based on these principles was constructed, and used to test the kinematics of a range of contemporary condylar replacement knees. The displacements and rotations varied over a range of almost two times, even with the soft tissue restraints. Without the restraints, the low constraint designs would have dislocated or moved unrealistically. It was concluded that a simulating machine should be based on the input of forces and moments, rather than on displacements and rotations, in order to provide data of kinematics and wear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997


  • Knee kinematics
  • Knee replacement
  • Knee simulator
  • Total knee
  • Wear in joint

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