Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-22-0009

Lower Extremity Injury Criteria for Evaluating Military Vehicle Occupant Injury in Underbelly Blast Events 2009-22-0009

Anti-vehicular (AV) landmines and improvised explosive devices (IED) have accounted for more than half of the United States military hostile casualties and wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) (Department of Defense Personnel & Procurement Statistics, 2009). The lower extremity is the predominantly injured body region following an AV mine or IED blast accounting for 26 percent of all combat injuries in OIF (Owens et al., 2007). Detonations occurring under the vehicle transmit high amplitude and short duration axial loads onto the foot-ankle-tibia region of the occupant causing injuries to the lower leg. The current effort was initiated to develop lower extremity injury criteria for occupants involved in underbelly blast impacts. Eighteen lower extremity post mortem human specimens (PMHS) were instrumented with an implantable load cell and strain gages and impacted at one of three incrementally severe AV axial loading conditions. Twelve of the 18 PMHS specimens sustained fractures of the calcaneus, talus, fibula and/or tibia. The initiation of skeletal injury was precisely detected by strain gages and corresponded with local peak axial tibia force. Survival analysis identified peak axial tibia force and impactor velocity as the two best predictors of incapacitating injury. A tibia axial force of 5,931 N and impactor velocity of 10.8 m/s corresponds with a 50 percent risk of an incapacitating injury. The criteria may be utilized to predict the probability of lower extremity incapacitating injury in underbelly blast impacts.


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